It’s pretty sad to say that I never got to live through the sort of ‘golden age of Metal’ if you will. In fact I didn’t even get to live through the underground tape trading days of the 80’s, you could say in the words of Saint Vitus that I was Born Too Late. Although much like many people my age I don’t think we’ve particularly missed out, we’ve just had a lot more catching up to do. Do I find it a little annoying that music is so easy nowadays? I guess so, I think it has made a lot of people lazy in the sense that lots of people claim to be into music when really they just listen to the same three albums on YouTube on repeat.

Ranting aside and touching upon those early underground days I come to speak of Ysengrin. The band hark back to a time when sub-genres meant nothing, there was only Metal. They do this with reference to the early underground era of Black and Death Metal, labelling themselves rather annoyingly for a genre nazi like me as ‘Hermetic Dark Metal’, which is probably almost as bad as the Viking or Pirate Metal tags. Regardless they aim to bring back their earlier works here in a compilation entitled Réincrudation which collates the 2010 demos Archivum MMV-MMX and Alchimëte including a cover of Darkthrone’s As Flittermice As Satans Spys and a further bonus track.

As the album opens we are enveloped in Sludge driven Blackened Black Metal that plods along in its demo-like demeanour. Sumbolon is the perfect starting place even introducing the reoccurring theme of melody, which whilst present in the album is somewhat eclipsed by the sluggish tone of the guitars, bass and vocals. It quickly becomes apparent why Ysengrin call themselves ‘Hermetic Dark Metal’ the influences are vast and the music is for outsiders only, this is the sort of music that even other Metalheads will likely label as pointless noise. However if you are one who can appreciate the rough and ready approach then you will not be disappointed.

Hideous down trodden vocals, Atmospheric Black Metal melodies and misery aside the album also delves into territories of Symphonic, Medieval Classical and Dungeon Synth in tracks like Interludium, Misterium and Ouverture. This is a notion which I can personally connect with, what with having a penchant for Dungeon Synth and more recently early Medieval Classical works such as Gregorian chants and so forth. Abstinence becomes one of the more intriguing tracks on the album bringing together elements of Black Metal, Doom, Medieval Classical, Avant-Garde and Drone infused Death Metal, a truly inspiring genre-defying work of art. The albums highlight however must surely be the lengthy Mystères De L’Artifex. A Progressive journey through Blackened landscapes touching upon notions of the Atmospheric and dare I say DSBM.

Overall Réincrudation is one hell of a compilation, upon my first listen I was unsure whether it would be suited to new ears but as the replays have gone by I find this an exceptional starting point for Ysegrin. In a world that often cares too much for high production values this is a welcome break, full of the gritty horror that underground Metal was built from. The fact that it’s so separated from genre confines is equally a massive selling point, despite being addicted to putting music in boxes it is truly enthusing when a band cannot be put in a box. To finish things off in a positive manner my biggest thrill from this compilation is likely the fact that it is hard to believe it is from demos made in 2010, it has the purity of the late 80’s to early 90’s and for that I applaud Ysengrin.

(8/10 George Caley)