Fortid - Voluspa Part III: Fall Of The Ages

Fortid are one of those groups that when they start an epic or concept album, they never let up with each release until it is done. So far the Voluspa series has been pretty entertaining and now with the third installment, Fall Of The Ages, it seems that the group hasn't gotten tired yet of the Viking theme. As far as music goes, their style is sort of an epic-blackened-viking metal style, dragging out atmosphere through the guitars and howled anguish similar to that of bands like Enslaved or Tyr. However, Fortid as just as good at creating soft melodies as they are at delivering the razor sharp black metal. Fall Of The Ages is a mix of both.

The album begins with a heavily distorted droning track called "Ancient Halls." With the way it snakes and loops through the earhole it sounds like depressive black metal due to the thick atmosphere, and adds to the mystery of the album altogether. The keyboards are a great orchestral addition in the background, and this does on for some time befores the guitars crash in with their heavy, dramatic chords as the keyboards add to the drama. "Ragnarok Army" is the first taste of actual black meta due to the blast beats and guitar riffs that are on pure adrenaline. There's very little breathing room between each note, and the only pauses one really hear are from the vocals, which echo with darkness and sound a little bit like a mix between Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir or Wrest of Leviathn. They're slightly clear in the mix of the music, so that's always a good thing. At some point the guitars turn down the buzzing and some more melodic passages can be heard. The notes repeat themselves a few times and then the heavier side comes back in; later the same notes can be heard near the end again shrouded by all the noise. "Fall Of The Ages" offers no respite as far as the music goes; it is just straight up extreme black metal. The drums hammer away with no mercy and the keyboards just hum away in the background. The guitars continue their buzz saw assault with little regard for melody or tempo change; this is one cold track.

"Equilibrium Reclaimed" injects some of the melody and atmosphere back into Fortid's reportoire, though. The guitars still have the buzz saw effect and don't slow down for any soft moments, but the tempo has been mellowed out so it sounds like depressive black metal again. The vocals take a different quality this time as they feature clean moaning which fits the viking metal atmosphere perfectly. The music is slightly repetitive, but Fortid seemed to be going more for atmosphere than intensity with this one. "New Dawn" is a heavily melodic track featuring acoustic guitars and more clean singing, but they sound more like progressive metal or power metal vocals. It is a huge change for Fortid's usual musical style, but also very welcome because it is so different and doesn't feel like it is out of place or done poorly. "Heltekinn" brings the intesity back in but also offers more melody instead of just blind strumming or relenetless drums. "The Future" is a monster epic that performs in the same vein of the previous track in the way the guitars keep a very cold atmosphere, but mid way there's a soft part with the acoustic guitars and kyboards to give some breathing room before heading back to obliteration. It's also nice to hear the drums for once in the mix.

Whether or not Part III is the end to the concept, fans will probably still wish to see more. Hopefully Fortid will develop a new album idea in the idea of viking mythology, or if they continue the Voluspa idea try to make it just as varied as Part III was from Part II. Fans of most blackened viking metal will find this enjoyable; it isn't as melodic as a band like Borknagar but would be more suited for fans of Graveland or Thryfing.

  1. Ancient Halls
  2. Ragnarok Army From The East
  3. Fall Of The Ages
  4. Equilibrium Reclaimed
  5. New Dawn
  6. Heltekinn
  7. The Future

Schwarzdorn Productions
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Jun 29, 2010

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