By Nathanas Trismegistus
Förgjord – Laulu kuolemasta (translates to “A song of death”); released April 3, 2020 by Werewolf Records. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the Finnish Kvlt is alive and well with bands like Förgjord. Not even a year after the release of Ilmestykset, the masters of the black craft return with yet another masterpiece. Werewolf Records seems to have finally taken a break from its steady stream of mediocre symphonic black metal releases in order to unleash this avalanche of austere elegance.
Haunting, glacial melodies and wicked, inauspicious atmosphere abound. The drums pompously stamp and stomp in anticipation until the inevitable charge of blast-beats. The guitars alternately needle you with acrid, melancholic dissonance and lull you with drifts of soft, pleasant consonance; a perfect musical representation, I think, of the experience of hypothermic death. The shrill vocals are like a foul, caustic voice conveyed upon the winds of a blizzard. All in all, this album plays like a revenant, tireless and malevolent, hunting you down in the perplexity of the unbroken, opalescence of a labyrinthine forest during a stark, winter whiteout. Laulu kuolemasta album really is an exercise in refinement. Förgjord seems to have tasked themselves with trimming all the fat off their previous effort (and, yet its running time exceeds that of Ilmestykset). Nothing is wasted. Nothing is waste. Nevertheless, I’m really anxious to find out if their next album manages to exceed this one in quality or if Förgjord finally break their streak of unremitting excellence. Tracks 2 and 4 are probably my favorites; but, really, this album should be experienced, properly, in its entirety.
Bitter. Harsh. Cold. Grim. This album is an auricular icicle impalement. If you consider yourself a fan of Finnish black metal, you should own at least one Förgjord album. They’re all good. I think each successive album improves, in some small way, on the last. Laulu kuolemasta is no exception. If you want the best and can only afford one (I know almost everyone is financially struggling right now), buy it. A fair warning, though: the production really facilitates the disturbing atmospheres as I’ve described them. It is appropriately raw; so, if you have the ears of the uninitiated, this album will not appeal to you. For some reason, though – I don’t know if it was a request of the band or some weird, contractual obligation – this album is neither streaming on the band’s Bandcamp nor the label’s. Physical copies – CDs exclusively (for the time being) – exist, but good luck acquiring a copy. Your only option – as far as I’m aware – is to buy from Werewolf Records directly via e-mail, which is some strange, pathetic attempt at bringing back the “glory days” of mail orders during the age of the Internet. I get it. You want to cull the un-Trve from the black metal scene. Whatever. I will try to secure a copy and I suggest you do the same. Absolutely recommended. Absolutely essential.