Season of Mist
With this year’s Fenris Kindir, Arckanum has certainly honed their craft well, this being their eighth full length album. The band has always been quite a mystery to me, having delayed really checking them out proper over the years. But with Fenris Kindir, I once again made up my mind to give the band a proper listen, and though not really knowing what to expect on Arckanum‘s eighth album, given the band’s long running history, one could be sure to be in for one hell of a ride.
Band mastermind Shamaatae quickly sets up a cold atmosphere with the ambient opening track Fenris Kindir Grua, and as the first notes of the guitar are played, things get all the more bleak with the think and hollow tone reinforcing that raw and relentless atmosphere that surrounds the listener. On Fenris Kindir Shamaatae certainly displays the years of experience under his belt in the occult and in black metal music, and unlike many of the peers that rush into the climax, Arckanum takes their time to build up the tension in the air, evident from songs like Tungls Tjugari, with the slow build up causing for the eventual climax to be all the sweeter and rewarding.
While unfamiliar with the past material of Arckanum, the material on Fenris Kindir could easily be identified with numerous other classic acts. The Norwegian influences are perhaps the clearest with the bleakness, harshness and hostility that is in the atmosphere, while the faster and more aggressive moments on the album see the band invoke resemblances of their fellow countrymen as Watain or Marduk. The vocal styling of Shamaatae and the more thrashy moments on the album even bring about some Impiety and bestial black metal comparisons, and with the usage of techniques like pick-scratches to give a more chaotic and barbaric sound to the music, fans of that end of the black metal spectrum would certainly be pleased as well. There are even some rather thrashy/punkish moments on songs like Dolgrinn, reminding one of the later works of Satyricon.
Throughout the album as well, some rather folkish elements could be spotted, and these certainly help to make the entire experience all the more fulfilling and balanced, like on Hamrami, rousing certain emotions in the listener with the sorrowful tune of the violins.
Unfortunately, while each of the songs have rather good moments in themselves, they falter in being able to form a coherent whole in the context of the album. Songs tend to end rather unexpectedly just as one expects the band to take the intensity of the music a notch higher, but often one feels as though he is rushed on to the next track. But with Shamaatae engaging in every aspect of the music, from the atmospheric and ambient elements, to the ritualistic feel like on Vargold and the classic black metal style, there is nothing to dislike on Fenris Kindir.