German band Frigoris release their sophomore album on Hypnotic Dirge and the list of ‘for fans of’ appealed so here I am, eager. It opens as you might expect with a little soundscape, wind softly calling across the landscape, rustling trees and grass as the acoustic guitar plucks a pastoral tune before being swallowed by the rush of the blasting riff and the nicely howled vocals. It’s a good sound, and a nice if plainly produced one. There’s a nice roll to the riff, a rise and fall perhaps following the contours of the land, and despite the noise there is a certain placidity to it. Third track ‘Im Kein Ertrunken’ does pretty much the same. I begin to wonder.
No, nothing wrong here, nothing bad. Quite the reverse; this is nicely put together music and the vocals are top notch and it takes considerable commitment to write these seven minute plus passages.
OK here’s the issue for me and take it or dismiss it as you see fit. Every sub-genre becomes over saturated, it’s just human nature. Some bands come along with an idea, other musicians are genuinely swept up by their own enthusiasm for the sound and the possibilities they see until it’s a scene all of its own with diminishing new areas of exploration. Every corner taken. That’s where I believe post-rock influenced black metal is at and has been for the last twelve months at least. And that’s without any comment on what post-rock does to the core sound.
I said passages above and unfortunately that is what Frigoris offer for me. Passages. Usually prefaced or book-ended by acoustic work, maybe a little soundscape with that slow to mid-paced riff style in between. They use those minor chords to try and wring out the melancholy, the rise and fall, ebb and flow to the melody and all done well. It’s just that the melancholy never reaches those bleak, natural howls of a band like Fen, and there is a lot of Fen in this sound. It never entirely cuts you to the bone with the savagery of nature or the cold of the season like Wolves In The Throne Room. It never quite reaches the gentle, sylvan touch of Agalloch. And on the converse, non-post rock style it never has the savage, grim full on black metal claws of Forteresse either.
I know. It is what it is and with the exception of the odd samples of some Christian evangelists on ‘Ode An Verlorene Seelen’ it is a nicely performed, reasonably written album of post rock black/pagan metal with no real surprises. If you can’t get enough of this stuff dive in and you will probably love it as it is faultlessly played. However I have either reached well past my tolerance level for this kind of stuff or it simply isn’t aimed at me.
Sorry, I have to pass.