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SELECTED & DISSECTED

ALBUM OF THE MONTH RAGNARÖK ‘N’ ROLL

IVAR BJØRNSON & EINAR SELVIK’S SKUGGSJÁ

‘Skuggsjá’

SEASON OF MIST

An ambitious collaboration between two of Norway’s most pioneering artists, ‘Skuggsjá’ sees Wardruna mainman Einar Selvik and Enslaved guitarist Ivar Bjørnson joining forces to marry traditional Norse folk to the visceral power of extreme metal.

Born from a 2014 collaboration, ‘Skuggsjá’s transition from stage to studio must have been a challenging one, yet the dedication of the two like-minded conspirators has spawned a beast greater than perhaps even they could have imagined. Created as both a way to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution and castigating the arrival of Christian invaders who sought to wipe out pagan culture, ‘Skuggsjá’ is a feather in the cap of both Bjørnson and Selvik. They have sought to create an unparalleled voyage into history, nodding to the modern era without losing any authenticity. It’s an ostentatious release which throws up the odd raised eyebrow but this is more than just Wardruna with electric guitars.

Selvik may have his critics in some quarters who bashed him for his success in soundtracking the hit T.V. series ‘Vikings’, yet it’s undeniable how dedicated he is to his craft. Working diligently with Bjørnson, they have created a cohesive work that celebrates both the ancient and modern greatness of Norway’s rich culture.

‘Skuggsjá’ is a tribute to the boldness and pioneering spirit of the heathens who descended on The British Isles not to pillage the land but to fertilise and infuse it with their own unique ideas. ‘Rop Fra Røynda – Mælt Fra Minne’ is so utterly all-consuming that the sight of Yggdrasil itself could scarcely seem more magnificent, whilst the choral vocals on ‘Makta Og Vanaera (I All Tid)’ soar majestically with heathen pride. Underpinned by a sweeping ostinato and the harsh snarl of Enslaved’s Grutle Kjellson, it’s a moment which encapsulates the duo’s modus operandi of “exploring Norway’s rich history through the medium of harder music.” The delicate marriage of intricate movements that make up ‘Skuggsjá’ reveal an inherent understanding of each other’s craft and a truly epic homage to one of the world’s most famous and storied cultures. Shapeshifting almost effortlessly from one genre to the next without coming apart at the seams, the symbiotic relationship the duo have forged can only have been reached through an intuitive understanding of both art forms. Former Gorgoroth drummer Selvik clearly relishes the chance to blend the sound of bone flutes and deer hide drums with the searing guitars and primal screams of progressive modern metal. Heavily indulgent and immersive, the oppressive drones of ‘Bon Om Ending, Bøn Om Byrjing’ are truly gargantuan. Old Norse for ‘King’s Mirror’, ‘Skuggsjá’ is a celebration of Norway’s Viking heritage, fusing both Wardruna’s cinematic folk tales with epic progressive metal on an unfathomable scale.

Grim, yet frequently beautiful, ‘Skuggsjá’ is a meeting of two minds which should surpass even the most lofty of expectations. A moving tribute weaved from the rich sonic tapestry of two genres melded seamlessly together, ‘A Piece For Mind & Mirror’ is a celebration of the past which alludes to a very bright future.

ENTOMBED A.D.

‘Dead Dawn’

CENTURY MEDIA

If only there wasn’t that god damn name looming over everything they’re doing… No, we don’t mean to go over that whole ridiculous ‘Entombed vs Entombed A.D.’ legal battle again as this ain’t ‘Dead Dawn’s biggest problem.

Actually, we’re off to a good start as, after so many years of dryness, to see the ‘Tombed lads knocking out two albums over the space of only eighteen months is, in itself, quite a relief. And compared to its half-cooked predecessor, there’s a great feeling of emergency running through ‘Dead Dawn’, as if to make up for lost time. Plus, with so many youngsters (Feral, Undead Creep, Disrupted) and old timers alike (Entrails, Interment, Under the Church) successfully recreating their early style these days, they’ve smartly summarized all their past periods into one, former-bass-player-now-turned-guitarist Nico Elgstrand and their latest four-stringer Victor Brandt writing the bulk of the material by shuffling together death ‘n’roll, hardcore and punk. At this charade, the songs closer to the grandeur of ‘Wolverine Blues’ win the cake (‘Silent Assassin’) even if the few, scattered attempts at partly reliving their pure death days prove to be quite meaty (‘Black Survival’).

Sadly, all their efforts are dwarfed by their back-catalogue and as entertaining as this slab of Swedish dödsmetal is, it simply doesn’t stand a chance against even, say, minor past albums like ‘To Ride Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth’, whose swagger and instantly catchy choruses are desperately missing here. Guys, if you want to have a real chance, start from scratch, build a whole new empire on your own and let the sleeping dogs lie.

For those about to rot, we salute you! It feels great to be able to release a new album again. It turned out even better than I could hope for. The production is great, the songs are killer, and the band is tight and hungry. And with all the plans we have for 2016, it’s going to be a great year!”

BASSIST VICTOR BRANDT ON THE NEW ALBUM

ACCUSER

‘The Forlorn Divide’

METAL BLADE

That haunting Testament-like acoustic intro, ‘Predawn’, might lull you into a false sense of security and have you thinking some polite Bay Area riffing is heading your way, and then ‘Lust For Vengeance’ barrels from the speakers and knocks you on your arse with some of the most hateful death/thrash since… well, since the last Accuser album. And eleven albums in, ‘The Forlorn Divide’ is every bit as hammer tight as you’d expect, but this German killing machine keep it raw with a filthy mix and by making sure every song has a streak of bad intention a mile wide running through it. ‘Impending Doom’ dabbles with some dark melodies, but even that crushes all asunder.

AMON AMARTH

‘Jomsviking’

METAL BLADE

As improbable as it might have been two decades ago, Amon Amarth have become a melodic death metal institution, attaining a popularity that should perplex any and everyone, including the fantastical teenage dreams of its members. To that note, they know what butters their bread and the only alteration to the formula on album number ten is the inclusion of more Viking-centric tales, including filmic-sounding sequences and spoken word parts from the James Earl Jones school. If you’ve heard Amon Amarth musically ventilate about longboats, sword swinging, Valhalla and the icy north you’ve essentially heard what’s on offer here. And if you’ve enjoyed it previously, there’s no reason not to love the spirited, uni-dimensional ride ‘Jomsviking’ takes listeners on.

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About Terrorizer Magazine

There are certain times in history that will always remain special in your heart throughout your life. People often talk about the first time they have seen a certain band and I am no exception. It’s been a blessing to have had the opportunity to see so many bands in my life and, if pushed, I could recount many. After a number of false starts to actually see Neurosis in a live setting, I remember finally getting the chance to see them for the first time at Dudley JB’s with Today Is The Day (featuring Bill Kelliher and Brann Dailor, who would later form Mastodon) and Voivod (with Eric Forrest). The hall was cavernous, certainly not overly busy in terms of punters, and yet the sonics that blasted through the speakers that night could not have sounded any more apocalyptic. Truly jawdropping and, frankly, life-changing. I know I am not the only one who has experienced similar and for that reason, it is a pleasure to celebrate Neurosis’ 30th anniversary with a cover feature that covers the band’s continuing career. José Carlos Santos has excelled himself as always in producing a fantastic article with Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till and I truly hope you love reading it. Elsewhere it’s always a pleasure to chat to Karl Willetts from Bolt Thrower and now of his new band Memoriam – please flick to the news pages to read about the new band now! And of course, plenty of other cool-as-fuck bands to read about and enjoy. See you next month! Adios DARREN SADLER
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