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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Review: Ereb Altor – Vargtimman

Label: Hammerheart Records

Date: January 14th, 2022

It wasn’t long ago that I reviewed the previous Ereb Altor material. Past spring, to be more precise. Early 2022 already brings another one. Longer this time. The ninth full length record in the almost two decades of the band’s existence. With additional two EP’s, nobody can claim they’re not productive.

While at that, nobody can claim they are not creative enough to push out fresh material on short notice. It can often lead to repetitiveness, or loss of power, but not with Ereb Altor. The Swedes are pushing the limits this time as well. “Vargtimman” is one more example of black metal strongly inspired by Viking past and Norse tales. In short, an homage to Bathory and their overly atmospheric era. But okay, that’s the most obvious comparison. It is highly likely most reviewers would just stop here.

However, I’m a special kind of nosy prick and I dared to dig deeper. If you would allow me the freedom, I would say the boys of Ereb Altor have sneaked a peak outside Scandinavia for a while. I got the feeling with the previous EP, too. Bands such as Harakiri For The Sky and their likes seem to be infused within the traditional sound more and more. It’s not as easily discernible as one might think, but I got there while examining “Vargtimman”.

I got to that point by trying to figure out what’s actually wrong with this album. It didn’t quite sit with me at first earful. Unlike its predecessors, this one took a while to be properly digested. This atmospheric “wandering” is what got me puzzled. Still, once it sat down on me, I realized this is really quite nice record.

I mean, sure, Bathory is a great band. Enslaved as well. Amon Amarth, too. And many more. But how many bands are there, milking the same goat? Nowadays, there are myriads, sounding exactly the same. Thor himself would be embarrassed. So, a bit of roaming around the boundaries. Not too much, but just as the Vikings did back in the day. Plunder and pillage, take what’s there to be taken and slip back to a feast back home.

And a bountiful feast it is! “Vargtimman” swerves from the traditional Viking metal, to overly black metal tunes in “Rise of the Destroyer”, down to soothing and colorful aurora borealis lighting up the atmosphere surrounding it. Ranging in vocals, guitars, bass and drums, even up to subtle keyboards, making for a full audio enlightenment.

As I mentioned, unlike “Eldens Boning” that came before it, “Vargtimman” will require some additional time. It’s not easy to swallow, it doesn’t give out an instant flavor of Nordic pride, but it will eventually start a massive bonfire in the hearts of the elder gods.