It’s always kind of odd when the first time you hear of a band it comes with a PR sheet that informs you that it’s their final album. Well such is the case with black metal one man band Panphage and the man behind it Fjallbrandt. He appears to have a couple of other bands still about though and, regardless, the musicality on show here suggests he’s not going to be quiet forever.

Jord, the final album in a trilogy, draws heavily on Swedish folk music in sound, though with not a traditional instrument in sight. It is all in the melody woven into the restless, wild riffs and the odd bit of clean singing. Not to say this isn’t aggressive stuff, mind. It is. At times it comes across like a severely pissed off Skalmold, or the Scandinavian cousins of Forteresse particularly in the vocal style. Guitars have a sharp cutting edge and the clear production lets the relentless drumming power on through as the bass glowers in the background. There is a real sense of age to the music too, a depth that reaches back to older times with the beautifully judged vocal arrangements and those melodic lines again, tiny pieces of something maybe akin to Wardruna sprinkled in there on the closing track.

I found this had to be taken as a whole, really, which plays to both its strength in the atmospheric song writing and perhaps the only weakness that the pace has only limited variation. I also don’t know whether it’s my review copy but one track stops so suddenly, halfway through a riff, it sounds like an excerpt rather than a full song. It is on the whole another album that doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but wheels are good and Jord is a very classy and enthralling album.

Best listened to with no distractions, this is solid and very worthy release with a great deal of spirit and integrity to it. I will certainly be checking out the preceding two chapters.

(7/10 Gizmo)