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Fortid - "9" (CD)

Fortid - "9" CD cover image

"9" track listing:

1. Hrafnar (6:40)
2. Hugur (5:15)
3. Nornir (5:14)
4. Viska (10:15)
5. Leit (3:47)
6. 9 (9:09)
7. Galdur (5:14)
8. Rúnir (5:59)
9. Hof (6:06)

Reviewed by on July 1, 2015

"With all the various sounds working together there's almost guaranteed to be something to catch any metal fan's ear, and the mix of black/Viking/melodic metal all together with an old school vibe is overall a very satisfying combination."

Keeping things fresh in the underground, Fortid is an outfit you'd probably never discover if you only go for the well known names and the bigger labels, but in that case you'd be missing out on some quality metal. Currently Norwegian but originally Icelandic, Fortid is another gem to come from that unique island nation (if you haven't heard Solstafir, Skalmold, or Beneath, do yourself a favor and make a bee line for their band entries right now).

Featuring members of Den Saakaldte in this full-band version of Fortid (previously a one-man project for the first three albums), “9” rocks Norwegian black metal in a very different way than many other bands. Incredibly atmospheric, many of the tracks on “9” play with empty spaces between the harsh growls and throw in a good deal of melodic elements. In a way not altogether dissimilar from the previously mentioned Skalmold, Fortid also has a strong rooting in the Viking metal style, and that sound comes out strongly with folk singing every now and again.

The nine tracks across this disc are incredibly dynamic and varied, with no shortage of stylistic changes from segment to segment. Harsh and clean vocals find their place alongside occult chanting, blast beats appear as often as bass-focused sections, and the guitars range from melodic to heavily extreme. For the most part it all works together and the varying changes will keep the audience on its toes. The spacey, drawn out guitar chords on mammoth 10 minute track “Viska” for instance are an interesting listen, although the constant blast beating with the guitar buried in the mix on ending track “Hof” doesn't work as well.

Even with these segments where the changes don't work for the better, there's still always something new to look forward to just on the horizon. “Hof,” for instance, drops the blasting and transitions into a sound that's just a step or two away from psychedelic before going back into black metal territory. With all the various sounds working together, there's almost guaranteed to be something to catch any metal fan's ear, and the mix of black/Viking/melodic metal all together with an old school vibe is overall a very satisfying combination.

Highs: Black metal gets a twist, throwing in elements of Viking and melodic metal

Lows: Some of the blast beat parts don't work well (especially considering the melodic surrounding elements), and the sound quality isn't perfect.

Bottom line: Black and Viking metal collide, with some interesting melodic additions.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)