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  • Review by Faye Coulman

REVIEWED: Forndom - ‘Faþir’

As conscious beings cursed with the crippling, existential burden of our own mortality, it’s small wonder we’re often given to muse and reminisce upon the past. For, in the vividly indelible etchings of human memory, of ancient legends and sagas of old, we might salvage something of the everlasting as, moment by moment, the present slips from our grasp like the finest and most elusive of darkly intangible sands. With the medium of music comprising perhaps the most intensely moving and evocative art form through which to capture that which would have otherwise merely dissolved into the ether, Forndom creator H.L.H. Swärd here proves himself a masterful and effortlessly practised conjurer.

Harking back to an age far removed from the domestic comforts that today serve so well to cushion and distract us from the grim inevitability of the gaping void, freshly released epic ‘Faþir’ audibly vibrates with all the savage, windswept beauty of this famously barbaric bygone era. Indeed, from the moment ‘Jakten’s’ darkly intoxicating swell of sultry violin notes erupt into a dizzying crescendo of tortured emotion, this mesmerising opener here ignites in us the very deepest and darkest of primal impulses. With this eerily tremulous siren call stirring the very fibre of our being like a ravaging blast of frostbitten Nordic air, it’s with steady but weightily crippling momentum that expansive slabs of percussion work their pounding, darkly ritualistic magic on the senses. Abounding with all the raw, primal majesty of invading armies, of blood-soaked battlefields and longboats bound for perilous, uncharted waters, the intricacy of detail that lies in the album’s rich variety of traditional instrumentation is nothing short of staggering.

‘Fostersonen’, for one, positively revels in such darkly primal, blood-drenched energies, its feverish strains of pounding percussion and rasping textures oozing sacrificial horror beneath densely sumptuous layer upon layer of choral vocals. Elsewhere, ‘Yggdrasil’ instantly bewitches with its intricate, gracefully orchestrated harmonies, while ‘Hel, jag vet mig väntar's' lofty crescendos of wistful longing and sorrow find the Swedish composer at his hauntingly evocative finest. As we progress deeper and deeper into this wondrously hypnotic body of work, there's a slight sense of repetitiousness at play here that might suggest potential space for greater variation in mood and pacing from one composition to the next. That said, it's perhaps this unmuddled linearity and purity of design that, in part, accounts for what is an indisputably spellbinding album.

Faþir’ is out now on Nordvis

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