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Review: Holdaar - Aegishjalmur

Label: More Hate Productions
Year released: 2015
Duration: 59:48
Tracks: 10
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: January 9, 2017
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
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Rated 4/5 (80%) (11 Votes)

Russian Black Metal act, Holdaar, formed in Kaliningrad in 2004 by Skilar "Holdaar" Velesson (also in Moongates Guardian), is a two-man band that cannot be accused of resting on their laurels. Holdaar's whole recording catalog is pretty huge; they have recorded 16 (yes, 16) full-length studio albums, several EPs and demos during their career of 12 years. In addition to that, there's even seven compilation albums, so these two fellows know how to keep themselves busy.

Aegishjalmur is the title of the band's 15th full-length studio recording and it's more than about some ravishing grimness and darkness musically: it's also about ravishing beauty of music in general as the songs are filled up with some deep emotions and melodies. Some of the songs even have this soundtrack-ish feel of the dark ancient times to them. The texture of the song is all about churning out Black Metal without boundaries. It's all about pushing the envelope a little bit, about stretching a familiar sound out of people's comfort zone, which Skilar has also accomplished well on this ambitious album. Vocalist Alexey holds some true raven-croak quality, and in a way, the combination of his harsh vocal parts, mixed with Skilar's genuine compositions, all reminds me of Arcturus' debut album, Aspera Hiems Symfonia.

Besides Holdaar's own songs, Skilar also covered Forest's "Einherjers' Reich" for this album, which could well pass as an Holdaar song if I didn't know any better. Also, Skilar ended up covering Iron Maiden's classic "The Trooper", which sounds somewhat interesting. And by 'interesting' I mean I am not quite sure whether he has played the solo part in this one by himself at all. It sounds like he has simply sampled the original solo part in for this cover because it does not differ from Adrian Smith's solo one damn bit. Anyway, the song has been covered zillions of time before, but it's actually the first time I hear it sung with harsh Black Metal vocals.

So, the final question is whether Aegishjalmur is worth checking out? You bet it is.

More about Holdaar...
Review: Times Stretching in the Sky (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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