Solbrud
Jærtegn

Solbrud hails from Denmark. Although this is the band’s second full-length, it’s my first encounter with them. The sound displayed on Jaertegn is vaguely reminiscent of darker, more raw European folk-metal acts such as Ygg and Wodensthrone, although to my ears this actually shares more in common with Cascadian black metal, such as Wolves in the Throne Room (especially Black Cascade and Two Hunters) and even more so with their lesser-known fellows, Alda. It lacks traditional folk instrumentation or keyboards; the folk influence shows up most prominently in scattered acoustic sections. The song structures ebb and flow with Cascadian post-rock sensibilities.

The production is raw but full-bodied, providing enough bottom end to balance out the high-end harshness. Everything is cranked to eleven, but the balance lets you hear everything: the raspy vocals, the drums, the bass, and the thick guitars at the forefront.

Opener “Sortedoden” wastes no time getting right to the core of what Solbrud does on this album. It delivers powerful black metal with well-constructed and often soaring melodies, and even a dark sense of triumph. The track ends on something that most bands of this ilk avoid–a major chord!–but in a way that manages to avoid coming off as cheesy or contrived. The following tracks, “Afbed” and “Klippemennesket” shows that there is also a touch more traditional black metal ala Darkthrone going on here than you get from the Cascadians, a welcome nod to the roots of this music. Closer “Ursult” shows the same competence and climaxes in an emotional, deeply melodic fury.

The only drawback is what might come off as a derivative sound. I’m not sure how much Wolves in the Throne Room was a conscious influence, but it may turn listeners off who have been worn out on that. For me, the slight touches of more traditional black and folk-black sounds provide enough of a difference for me.

I’ll admit that I’m a total sucker for this style of black metal, and this came as a most welcome surprise after the recent disappointments from Wolves in the Throne Room. Any listener who digs Cascadian black metal needs this immediately, as does anyone who also enjoys the darker, rawer side of folk-black.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J. D. Anderson
September 17th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this is aight


  2. Commented by: Morchiant

    I agree, this is highly derivative of Wolves in the Throne Room. Some of the riffs sound like exact copies of WiTTR riffs, but without the atmosphere and experimentation. That being said, its not a bad album, but I would rather hear something new (and good) from WiTTR.


  3. Commented by: Future Ruins

    I dig that new Wolves. I would rather a new album like you guys, but it’s kind of the ambient/experimental counterpart to Celestial Lineage. I’m sure its just a one off, and hopefully they will come back with a brand new full length next. In the meantime, I’ll give Solbrud a listen. (Band name kinda looks like Soul Bro in English, lol)


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