French flair and an edge sharpened on the Eastern plains: Fhoi Myore is a black metal band with a journey to make. It may be a frost bitten, bleak trek across snow capped Nordic mountains and down towards the sprawling wonder of the Slavic steppes – but what is there not to enjoy about that? They’ve also produced several demos and earlier this year an excellent EP with The Northern Cold. The concept alone is a mouth watering one. The name Fhoi Myore comes from the seven giants that devastated the land with an eternal winter that infests all life. In Michael Moorcroft’s novels they appear as twisted, god-like entities intent on turning all around them into the entropic, limbo state from where they originate. Apparently the creative drive comes from the desire to recreate that world in musical form. A perfect creative muse for a black metal band, then, even if they are from sun-soaked Nice on the Mediterranean coast.

This is a fine example of adventurous black metal: rasping vocals and a stripped-down sound planted in the roots of the scene. It’s unashamed about wearing its influences on its sleeve with song titles like ‘My Blood is Made of Sap’ and a cover decorated with autumn leaves. But also takes a broad enough perspective to avoid just being another Drudkh fan club wannabe. True, it has the hypnotic effect of bands like Astrofaes and Darkestrah. And it’s the heavily folk-inspired moments like the opening riff on ‘I am the Master of Hounds’ and the Ukrainian leanings of ‘Forest’ where Fhoi Myore really finds its heart.

But it’s not an influence that is slavishly pursued. In amongst the wind-swept riffs, tendon-crippling blast-beats and hoarse, distorted growls lies the unfettered aggression of 90s black metal. It’s there in the basement-quality recording ethic, the rawness and the free meandering though tremolo riffs, back beats and signature changes. Throw in a few tribal drums, eerie war cries and other predictable sound effects and this is guaranteed to give any heathen black metal fan a warm glow. Er, sorry, I mean frosty chill. All pretty relentless stuff and it’s good to know that the underground is still spewing forth bands in abundance of such quality and clear intent.

(8/10 Reverend Darkstanley)