CD REVIEW Ereb Altor

Band: Ereb Altor
Title: Gastrike
Label: Napalm Records
Distribution: Rough Trade Benelux – Tone Entertainment
Release date: June 29th 2012
Review: CD

The history of Ereb Altor goes back to the early nineties. Back then, two same-minded musicians, sharing a common interest in epic Metal, started a band called Forlorn. After a while, the sound became more Doom-oriented, and the moniker was changed into Isole, also on Napalm Records. However, both members, Mats and Ragnar, were full of ideas that did fit to their original Viking-oriented (read: bathorian) concept, so in 2003 they started another project, called Ereb Altor. That very same year, a promotional full length got recorded, but unfortunately this album isn’t accessible for the ‘masses’. Luckily, in 2007, the first ‘real’ studio full length became a fact. By Honour was released by the excellent label I Hate Records and it can be considered a majestic tribute to Bathory’s Viking-period. The successor, called The End (still available on the site on the March 21st 2010-update; the first through Napalm), mainly went on in that very same vein. This album strongly continued the path of By Honour, meaning: Bathory-meet-Doom, even though there were some slight differences in between both of them.

Of course I was very pleased to notice that a new album had been created. Both former ones do belong to my all-time faves, so I wonder(ed) if Gastrike would continue that very same superior victorious path. And in mean time I did listen to the album a thousand times, and still I’m impressed, time after time. Damn, as a matter of fact, this album succeeds to exceed all former material!

There’s an enormous difference for sure, even though the basics are still the same. Yet opening song “The Gathering Of Witches”, shows the new direction as from the very first minutes: this album is the most Black-oriented to date! There’s still an important and inherent bathorian feel, yet less the Hammerheart / Twilight Of The Gods-way (even though tracks like “The Mistress Of Wisdom”, “Boatman’s Call” or “I Djupet Så Svart” follow that grandiose path). This time, the focus is strongly influenced by the ‘Nordic’ scene / sound (especially the Norwegian one). The tempo did speed up a lot too. Still there are some Doom Metal excerpts, yet most parts are mid-tempo to very fast, with inclusion of those characteristics that made the Norwegian Viking-Black scene so gloriously majestic two decades ago (think: Ulver, Bloodthorn, Taake, Satyricon, Enslaved etc.). The addition of atmospheric keyboard lines, some acoustic intermezzos and some epic choirs are a surplus on the Epic / Pagan-side, putting my finger again of, at the one hand, early Satyricon or Bloodthorn, and the Wagnerian richness of Bathory at the other hand.

Duration: forty five minutes.

92/100

Ivan Tibos.