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Ereb Altor: Gastrike

19/09/12  ||  gk

Ereb Altor is basically a project led by Crister Olsson and Daniel Bryntse who are the two guitarists from Isole. If you’ve been paying attention to Isole, then you know that these 2 Swedes have been putting out some high quality doom metal for a few years now but with Ereb Altor they used to focus on a more Viking doom approach that was a bit like Bathory’s Hammerheart taken to its logical doom conclusion filled with epic riffs and clean, strong vocals.

On “Gastrike” though, the band has changed tracks and almost completely abandoned the doom flavour of their previous albums for a Viking/ black metal approach that surprisingly works quite well even if it does sacrifice some of the bands individuality and unique identity. The album starts with a very generic opener that’s kind of mid paced and melodic black metal and left me quite disappointed but then “Dance of darkness”, “Dispellation” and “Boatman’s call” all come one after the other and work beautifully. The clean chanting chorus of “Dance of darkness” mixed with the mid paced verse section is catchy and memorable. The awesome interplay between the harsh raspy vocals and the epic clean chanting on ”Dispellation” is goose bump inducing and calls to mind the influence of Hammerheart again. It’s a song that is both epic and harsh at the same time. “I djupet så svart” is another impressive song with cascading black metal riffs and an uneasy atmosphere giving way to an epic Viking style that’s melodic and catchy.

This is another impressive effort from Olsson and Bryntse. The duo plays guitars, bass and keyboards and only recruited newbie Tord to play drums on this album having previously handled the drumming themselves too. The keyboards are subtle and used mostly to develop atmosphere in the background while the guitar playing and vocals are both quite good.

“Gastrike” isn’t without flaws. Too many of the clean, chanting vocals sound similar and interchangeable and the influence of Bathory’s “Hammerheart” is still very clearly obvious even if the music has changed from Viking doom to Viking black. The band has also lost some of their unique identity that they had built up on ”By honour” and “The end”. “Gastrike” has some great songs but that unique Ereb Altor stamp is lost.

Still, fans of the whole Viking black metal sound will find plenty to like here and although I prefer their older doom oriented style, there’s no denying the quality on offer.

7,5

  • Information
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Napalm Records
  • Website: Ereb Altor MySpace
  • Band
  • Matts: vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass
  • Ragnar: vocals, bass, keyboards, guitars
  • Tord: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. The Gathering of Witches
  • 02. Dance of Darkness
  • 03. Dispellation
  • 04. Boatman’s Call
  • 05. The Mistress of Wisdom
  • 06. I djupet så svart
  • 07. Seven