November 24, 2013

Filthy Music Review - 'Ereb Altor: Fire meets Ice'

Ereb Altor - Fire meets Ice (2013)

Metal Blade/Cyclone Empire.

Review by Trevor Proctor

Viking inspired metal is a sub-genre that to many listeners has become a little tired, exhaustive and perhaps a bit “samey” with many bands having quite a few similarities in both sound and song structure. Thankfully Sweden’s Ereb Altor has more than enough musical differentiation in their melodic arsenal to enthral the listener and elevate their sound above most of today’s Viking inspired metal.

Ten years since the release of their demo “Awakening,” “Fire meets Ice” is Ereb Altor’s fourth full length release – and their first for the Cyclone Empire label – they’re a group that has never garnered the critical acclaim many feel they deserve, but I’m hopeful this album will be enough to help them amass this recognition and acclaim.

The title track gets the album off to a simple, yet beautiful start, a piano and acoustic introduction that gives way to very catchy and effective riffs punctuated with clean, well sung vocals – familiar ground for Viking metal this is a heartfelt, grandiose start. Spanning over nine minutes there’s so much more to this track, and in fact the whole album, than simple Viking metal. Midway through the track the pace quickens and clean vocals are briefly replaced with blackened rasps which reassure us there is much more to Ereb Altor’s output than straightforward Viking compositions. Constantly changing speed, vocal styles and some outstanding guitar solo work ensure there is enough variation to captivate the listener during this rousing, emotional nine minute musical journey across Ereb Altor’s musical landscape.
“Chosen ones” also begins slowly with some heartfelt, clean vocals, electric and acoustic guitars complementing each other very well throughout the first few minutes. Darkness soon returns to Ereb Altor’s world as maligned vocals destroy the majestic beauty they’ve just created. This is a track which perfectly conveys the contrasts between their musical styles and abilities.

There are plenty of clean, emotional, heartfelt and extremely well sung vocals during the course of this album, but thankfully the darkness and blackness is never too far away. An excellent example of this is “My Ravens” which commences with a synth and acoustic introduction accompanied by rousing, even spiritual vocals that conjure up images of Viking battle spirit. This intro showcases both the range and magnificence of Ereb Altor’s vocal abilities but once again the beauty is blighted by the enveloping malevolent fog as darkness shrouds their beauty once more and doom ensues.

Ereb Altor use every weapon in their fore-mentioned musical arsenal with abundant expertise to create a fascinating hybrid based around numerous influences. From simple guitar picking to elaborate, sweeping guitar solos - from passionate, expressive vocals to the blackest of growls stolen from the bowels of Hell - “Fire and Ice” encompasses all of this and so much more as they alternate from style to style captivating the listener’s attention for the duration of their spirited journey through their Viking world. 

It’s this musical, stylistic variation that ensures this band of Viking warriors is so different to the many traditional Viking metal acts in our musical world today. Granted, there are many traditional Viking moments (see: The Deceiver Shall Repent) but all are punctuated and contrasted with many differences in style, it’s these differences that justify an ascent to critical acclaim and recognition that Ereb Altor should achieve with this excellent album.


1. Fire Meets Ice
2. The Chosen Ones
3. Nifelheim
4. My Raven's
5. Sacrifice
6. Helheimsfard
7. The Deceiver Shall Repent
8. Post Ragnarok
9. Our Legacy

Fire meets Ice is available now through Metal Blade/Cyclone Empire.

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