In this current age, black metal often seems to be in a shabby state.
Horrible poser bands that have no true connection to that which they mimic are looked at as the modern torchbearers of the
scene, while a mass of mediocre acts clog things up even worse. With such conditions, it is nearly impossible to have any
hope left for the future of black metal. However, there are those times when one runs across a rare band that still upholds
the traditions of what this music is supposed to be about. In the case of Fördärv's debut release, The Echo of Emptiness,
it appears that some bands still get it and are capable of making high-quality black metal, even in this wretched modern era.
Listening to this, one would be hard-pressed to guess that it was recorded in late 2012. The song structures and overall
compositional style hearken back to the early '90s. In particular, the brilliant tremolo melodies sound influenced by the
old Norwegian bands, rather than by their fellow Swedish predecessors. The Echo of Emptiness basically contains two
somewhat lengthy songs, with an intro, outro and instrumental interlude to frame it all. Everything comes together very well,
creating a bleak and cold atmosphere, accentuated nicely by the freezing cold guitar tone that is utilized. It is so refreshing
to encounter a band actually able to evoke any sort of feeling at all, as most bands lack this ability. The faster sections
sound similar to Darkthrone's classic era, though possibly closer to the sound achieved by bands like Forest and Branikald,
centered on mournful tremolo riffs and steady but non-intrusive drumming. The mid-paced parts are reminiscent of Bathory,
bringing to mind such tracks as "Enter the Eternal Fire" as well as "To Walk the Infernal Fields" by Darkthrone. As for the
vocals, they sound forceful and filled with hatred, rather than just being hollow and generic like so many are. This adds
to the overall feeling of the music and it is too bad that more newer bands don't realize the importance of actually having
conviction for what you are doing.
The production is on the cleaner side, but not overdone in any way whatsoever.
It certainly does not sound like an old demo, but rather more along the lines of a full-length album from twenty years ago.
The guitars retain a rough edge and are clear enough for the melodies to be heard, yet still have somewhat of a raw feel.
The drumming, thankfully, is high enough in the mix to be heard but not overpowering the music and played in a genuine style
that goes against the modern triggered nonsense of today.
The Echo of Emptiness is definitely worth listening
to, for anyone into the early '90s Scandinavian black metal sound. This material is very strong and maintains a bleak and
frigid atmosphere throughout. Though Fördärv is a newer band, I actually find myself looking forward to their debut full-length,
which is somewhat of an accomplishment in itself, since most modern bands fail to capture my attention at all. For those involved
in the Swedish black metal scene, get over losers like Watain and give this a proper listen. This is a good example of what
black metal should sound like.
(15 Apr. 2014)