Sunday, March 11, 2012
Förgjord - Sielunvihollinen 
Take a look at Förgjord’s country of origin, and then take a look at their album artwork. That alone should tell you everything that you need to know; that is to say, “Sielunvihollinen” follows along the standards that have been set for Finnish black metal for quite some time now. These traits, that of cold and menacing, incredibly raw tones, seem to be a trend among Finnish black metal bands, and Förgjord do nothing less than follow suit; however, they do inject several other traits into their music, albeit not many, that succeed in keeping the listener intrigued.
The songs usually tend to be slightly long, but thankfully they do go through enough changes so as to redeem their length and keep the listener at edge. “Ei Kuoleman Arvoinen,” the second song (after a 2-minute intro song) on the album, is probably the best example of this (as well as being easily the best track on the record). It tumbles on through different phases and shows that the band has great potential in their songwriting. It starts off with a somewhat thrashy riff, rolling into blast beats and soon demonstrating that they too love the Finnish style of black metal, bringing about incredibly cold and brooding riffs, harrowing, rasping vocals and muffled drums. The next song, “Musta Lintu,” introduces more groove-laden riffs and less doomy sounds than were played on the previous tune, and so, it contributes more variety to the album. After chuggy riffs it also goes through funeral doom passages with voiceovers, slow tempos and more blast beats with depressing riffs. The rest of the album continues along a similar path, alternating between dismal, funeral doom and some crusty riffing.
Credit is due on their part to mention that there are riffs that are great on the album, but unfortunately there are some fillers as well. Despite this, Förgjord know how to switch up songs enough to keep them interesting, and the transitions between chuggy/ominous riffs are great. The drums are, as previously stated, muffled and slightly lower in the mix, and while they do not do anything particularly special for the album, they back up the riffs nicely. In addition to the blast beats and simple double bass-filled beats, there are even some d-beats to be heard throughout the album, spread scarcely, that make up for some of the aforementioned triteness. The bass is audible but not the main focal point, and it does nothing other than play along with the guitars and hide there in the corner; I have no complaints, however.
Förgjord have introduced into the metal community an album that will most likely be heard little among the masses, but those few people that do lend their ears to it should be fairly surprised at what it has to offer. While admittedly it does have some fillers, there are other riffs played sporadically that are fantastic, and they switch up styles perfectly. As well as the Finnish black metal trademark sound, there’s a pretty overt Darkthrone influence as well, especially circa-“Transilvanian Hunger.” All in all, “Sielunvihollinen” is a worthy listen, and those who happen to stumble upon it should not be disappointed.