While Sweden’s Ormgård has now been in existence for more than 12 years, it wasn’t until the band’s 2011 demo Ormblot that they really managed to garner some attention. With Ormblot garnering critical acclaims and comparisons to various black metal legends, Forever Plagued Records this year re-issues the album on CD, satisfying the appetites of those who have been seeking out copies of this demo.
Despite their Swedish origin though, Ormgård proves to be a vastly different monster compared to their more famous compatriots Marduk, Watain or Dark Funeral. Instead, what we have on Ormblot is an extremely atmospheric form of black metal, and this is rather obvious right from the opening track Ormblot, an ambient track with an almost pagan metal feel that brings one back to the origins of black metal, with the themes of nature and the power it holds.
The first riffs of Hugsad then introduces a sound that leans closer to Finnish black metal, with that rather desperate-sounding riffs and that heavy atmosphere that shrouds the track. But what really brought about that comparison with Finnish black metal is Orm’s high pitched, screechy vocals, that quickly reminds one of bands such as Satanic Warmaster, Horna or Sargeist. That negative vibe and outlook that is contained on the music on Ormblot at times even brings about some Drowning the Light comparison, and this certainly makes Ormblot an even more appealing album to me.
Unlike the trend of Norwegian black metal, Ormgård also doesn’t shy away from the usage of keyboards on Ormblot to bring out the atmospheric aspects of the band’s music, and this certainly aids in ensuring that the album is constantly shrouded by a thick layer of mist, reinforcing that sense of mystery of the band’s music.
With the inclusion of numerous instrumental/ambient tracks, one can be sure that Ormblot is a release that will have one completely enchanted right from the start, and would definitely be a good accompaniment to a stroll on a cold, winter night.