The biography makes much of this being this Swedish outfits fourth album, when in fact it’s only their third; so-called debut “Köldens Union” was in fact a collection of demos and live recordings. With the metadata missing from half of the tracks on the promo zipfile so they wouldn’t initially play properly, one does wonder such attention to detail is missing from a label as well established as Trollzorn.
Thankfully, the band themselves appear far more competent. Taking their name from the Swedish word for “icicle”, this frostbitten (well, “Frostbiten” as their second album was called) gang communicate their wares in English and German as well as their mother tongue, as the song titles illustrate.
Kicking things off, “Eternal War” takes us on a ride with some urgently delivered riffs and melodies, and thunderous percussive attack. The chorus of “winter is coming, winter is here” may have the more cynical amongst us pondering the coincidence that this album is released as Games Of Thrones returns to our screens… maybe Trollzorn are cleverer than I thought!
Third track “Natten Då Gud Blundade (1888)” likewise captures the imagination, with clean folky vocal segments chanting over heathen guitars. Following that, “Snowball Earth” boasts a more traditional intro melody, before swirling winds give way to the Primordial-esque folk metal rhythms. Quite an enjoyable romp of a song, despite the silly title.
The clarity of each instrument is striking, with the mix spot on. Each track offers something different for the listener, whilst a savage undercurrent balanced with a sense of melody throughout. Reminiscent of Thrawsunblat (before they went full-on acoustic) in places, though lacking the epicness of Moonsorrow, Istapp nonetheless deliver an enjoyable, efficient and competent folk black metal album that’s growing on me more with each listen.