Germany’s Fyrnask is a black metal band whose music revolves around nature, sorrow, and ritualism (per Encylopaedia Metallum). Again, much like the other bands this week, I’d never listened to them until very recently. Their second release, Eldir Nótt, comes out on Temple of Tortuous records on 9/23/13 and can be found here. Black Metal is an interesting beast in that it comes from a very independent place and lends itself well to experimentation. There’s no one black metal real “pure” take on the sound, regardless of what the True Kvlt would say regarding that comment. Generally, it has been an interesting previous two years in the sub genre, with bands taking the time to experiment with tone and space. Fyrnask seems dead set on investigating the use of space in their particular brand.
They are never quite ambient though they use synths, keys, strings, rain sounds, and throat singing to help contribute to this sense of space (see “Virgil,” “Jardeldir” and “Suonnas sedir”). For what it’s worth, the long compositions are where the metal is on its most redolent display: guitars churn tension, blast beats echo through the points, vocals shriek indignation. Each song builds, weaving through and around itself, to its climax, providing the much needed catharsis that I find necessary.
Fyrnask are straight forward, really, and the only subtlety is found in the atmosphere evoked alongside the more pensive moments of their songs and in the instrumentals. Remarkably, it’s the use of the instrumental that seems most important to this album as they tend to bleed into the next long composition; e.g.: “Suonnas sedir” is echoed through out the heaviest song on the album “Saltrian.” Conversely the long pieces fade well into the dark, vacuous instrumentals that serve to offer respite from the acidity of the approach. I refuse to hide my appreciation of the music from “Suonnas sedir” through “Samas stígr.” This haunting 16 minutes relies off all the elements that makes this album good: chanting, throat singing, acoustics (guitar and what sounds to be lute), hand drums, and strings. Perhaps this is a bit over the top, but you can genuinely feel the use of space here.
“Síada” is their most ambitious composition on the album, combining all elements of their sound together into the real payoff of the album. It brings all those earlier atmospheric instrumentals together with the venom of their metal. Droning at points, abruptly twisting at others, this is by far the best individual composition on the album; yet its point would be completely missed without the preceding runtime. The album fades out on “Sút” in an expansive sound that perfectly ends the ritual.
Fyrnask’s approach to Black Metal is a welcome addition to an all ready interesting year in the sub genre. It’s not overly progressive; however, however it is overwhelmingly dramatic and worth the payoff. You are not going to miss much if you’re listening for its chamber music qualities, but you are not going to be disappointed if you pick it apart. It is very much the purest Black Metal album I’ve reviewed all year, and for all intents it’s one of the best thus far.