Ormgård
Ormblot (Reissue)

Lately it seems like the metal scene has fallen into a time warp twenty years deep. Carcass has been touring, At the Gates and Godflesh are both working on new albums, Swedeath is branching out, and I keep seeing Emperor everywhere I look. The lone Swede of Ormgård was ahead of the curve on that last point when he recorded his second demo back in 2011, and Forever Plagued Records obviously picked the right time to give it this CD treatment.

I’m going to cut right to the chase. Ormblot is eerily similar to early Emperor, particularly their As the Shadows Rise EP. Countless bands have been inspired by those Norwegian innovators, but very few have captured that same cold, evil atmosphere. So, even though Ormgård isn’t really offering anything new here, it’s something that there really can’t be enough of. This leads me to my only gripe about the album: with only six tracks — three of which are keyboard instrumentals — and a runtime of just twenty-six and a half minutes, it leaves me wanting a lot more. At least instrumentals “Ormblot,” “Dödskröning,” and “Elivågor” possess a creepy, nostalgic charm that’s enjoyable in its own right, but I would prefer more of the superb black metal found in the other three tracks. But, it is a demo after all, and in that regard, it’s one of the best in recent memory.

Black metal tracks “Hugsad,” “Ohelgat Blot,” and “Av Svartkonst & Fördärv” all sound as if they were just discovered in the forests of Norway after being lost since the early ‘90s. But, don’t expect something overly “necro.” The production is certainly organic, but it has some actual weight to it and you can clearly hear everything that’s going on — much like the aforementioned Emperor EP. Sweeping synths flow beneath the biting guitars, adding just the right amount of atmosphere without overpowering the riffs. The vocals are of the shrill, shrieking variety that you don’t hear a lot nowadays. Did I mention this sounds like early Emperor? While all of the tracks are great, “Av Svartkonst & Fördärv” is the real standout. If it had been presented as some long-lost track that Emperor recorded somewhere between As the Shadows Rise and In the Nightside Eclipse, I would have believed it.

With acts like Esoterica, Kult of Taurus, and now Ormgård on their roster, Forever Plagued Records is a label to keep your eye on. I hope to see a new full-length from Ormgård in the near future that (unlike the oddly-titled, ambient-only ////\ released in 2012) contains more chilling, second-wave inspired black metal. It may be a two-decade-old style, but it’s one that never gets old.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Adam Palm
May 23rd, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    wow I missed this sound, hope more bands dredge it up again


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    also +1 on pasting the soundcloud link into the review. we should do that whenever possible from now on


  3. Commented by: Lance Bogen

    I agree with Gabaghoul, definitely post more sample links when available into the review so as to make convenient and gain favor among this site’s visitors. And also, this sound is very nice and nostalgic. Great job!


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