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Review: Eldrig - Urlagarne

Label: Darker than Black Records
Year released: 2012
Duration: 43:56
Tracks: 6
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: December 8, 2012
Reviewed by: Memnarch
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Rated 3/5 (60%) (1 Vote)

Well this was a complete bolt out of the blue; the long awaited follow up to Eldrig's previous opus Mysterion is apparently finally going to see the light of day after four long years of uncertainty, previously having been touted for release on Supernal's roster. Urlagarne is now the fourth full-length from this solo project consisting of Eldrig, one of the mastermind's behind parent project Fanisk, a band who I hold in extremely high regard. For the unenlightened, Fanisk play a highly orchestral and symphonic form of NSBM with a significant portion of the focus on Eldrig's vast and sweeping guitar movements. His solo project Eldrig is much the same, only it's a purely instrumental endeavour with an even heavier weighting on the guitar and less so on the keys and typical black metal structure in general.

I must admit Eldrig never really clicked with me, I always felt the ominous shadow of Noontide continually looming over both Kali and Mysterion thinking to myself what I wish this sounded like; I know they're both completely separate projects but I can't shake that thought. I suppose it's testament to just how hard an act to follow Noontide is. Urlagarne again is much the same, and if you're looking for something a bit more ‘conventional' than the previous releases then you're in for a sore disappointment. Those previously mentioned sweeping guitar passages make up the core of Urlagarne, three tracks split up by short interludes consisting of shrill leads and insanely high-pitched tremolo riffing the backbone of these. It comes across as some bizarre, fucked up neo-classical NSBM act at times (whatever next, technical doom metal?). According to Eldrig himself the album's main concept is fate and destiny centred on the universe, and I guess each track is a ‘piece' as such in this movement. The first track actually begins with a heavily mechanical and industrialised guitar tone and an unsettling synth teetering away behind giving the impression something's on the brink of collapse, but this soon gives way to the clamour of blazing fast cascading guitar work and a breakneck drum machine.

There's something extremely apocalyptic, malign and even psychedelic about the piercing, atonal kick off the guitar on Urlagarne, it's not an easy listen that's for sure. It's flamboyant, extensively dynamic and often bombastic and contains more layers than an international World of Warcraft convention so redundancy and repetition are never a problem. Its problem is that because it's so progressive and always continually morphing it's just completely and utterly unmemorable; the exact same problem that all Eldrig releases have suffered from in the past. As mesmerizing as the musicianship may be, sometimes you're just left longing for a simple, conventional crushing riff; I mean there are some great melodies and riffs buried within, it's just completely overwhelming and without any vocals the guitar becomes very sickly after a short while. Often at times the music reminded me of something that would have come from my old fucking Sega Megadrive.

Put it this way, if you liked his previous work then you'll love Urlagarne. Eldrig have never really ever clicked with me though and although I understand what he is shooting for, with their latest release it's still not hitting it and the effect remains much the same as their previous work; frustrating would be the best way to describe it, so much musicianship and promise which isn't really ever delivered upon. For those looking for something a bit more left field of normal NSBM, or even those looking for heavily orchestral, instrumental black metal (or sensory annihilation via fret board) in general then give it a listen, just be warned as it's a lot to take in. What I am looking forward to though is the next Fanisk album, apparently due out very soon which with luck will be much more exciting. I wait with baited breath.

More about Eldrig...
Review: Kali (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Review: Mysterion (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
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