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Review: Utstott - Hjorungavagr

Label: Independent
Year released: 2015
Duration: 1:10:11
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: April 13, 2015
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating

Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (2 Votes)

Utstøtt, from Portland, Oregon, plays Epic/Black Metal in the vein of Summoning, Finsterforst and Caladan Brood something that should become obvious just by looking at the artwork on their debut Hjørungavågr. The majestic nature scene done in a soft-focus painting style is nearly mandatory for this kind of metal. Harsh vocals and tremolo picked guitars are mixed with beautiful keyboard melodies, choirs and sounds of nature across over 70 minutes of music. Unfortunately, unlike the aforementioned bands, Utstøtt main man Navnløs (who also handles all the instruments) doesn’t possess anywhere near the same songwriting skills. He has some good ideas but they are far too often repeated, sometimes painfully so ("Skrotter under bølgene" "En hedensk død") making Hjørungavågr a real chore at times. "Storsalen av eik" on the other hand, manages to stay interesting despite its 11+ minute length so Navnløs does have some good idea just not enough for the entirety of Hjørungavågr. The production is too thin and the drum programming isn’t perfect either. Perhaps Navnløs could have better served Utstøtt by releasing this as a couple of EPs with the best stuff now (e.g. "Storsalen av eik") and taking a bit more time to fine-tune the rest. Epic/Black Metal can be a truly compelling genre so I hope Navnløs takes a step forward on Utstøtt’s next release.

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