MUSPELLZHEIMR - Hyldest til trolddommens flamme (Ancient Darkness Productions CD 2015)
This is one of the newer releases from the mighty Ancient Darkness Productions and I think I can sincerely say that it’s also one of my personal favourites from this label. I am even more impressed as Mûspellzheimr are totally new band and “Hyldest til trolddommens flamme” is their debut album… but damn, what a good stuff it is! It’s almost a shame that Mûspellzheimr doesn’t unveil their line up, as I wonder who could stand behind such a killer black metal project; maybe one day I will find that out. Now I play “Hyldest til trolddommens flamme” again and again and enjoy one of the best black metal albums I’ve heard in a long time. Seriously!
What I love about “Hyldest til trolddommens flamme” is that how traditionally this album sounds. I mean, yes, I do like also some new hybrids within the black metal style, but there’s nothing better than the classic, cult Scandinavian bands and their early demos / albums. And for me Mûspellzheimr sounds exactly like these old cults, both from the Norwegian and Swedish lands. Let me then bring some names to give you a quick idea about their music: personally I find similarities to the old recordings from such bands as Taake, Sorhin, Enslaved, Helheim, Kvist, Emperor, Obtained Enslavement, Ulver, Dawn, Mork Gryning, Darkthrone… Oh, such a killer list of bands. And Mûspellzheimr certainly has some influences from each of them, except the fact that they don’t use any keyboards, only some acoustics appear here and there. Doesn’t matter. I think the most important is that “Hyldest til trolddommens flamme” brings 40 minutes of fantastic black metal; it’s an album, which ticks all the boxes “what makes a black metal album worthy”.
First thing, which catches my attention is the guitar work. The riffs are always very dense and fast, aggressive and savage, always played in very raw way, but they hold a nice melodic touch, have many harmonies, what give quite monumental feeling to the whole music. And as such it reminds me a combination of Taake with the orchestral riffage of old Emperor and harshness / atmosphere of Kvist. Damn, I truly love it. Take that first song, titled “II” (“I” is an acoustic intro) and how it begins, how’s this song built and how it progresses… I need to add Enslaved here, as Mûspellzheimr have similar way of arranging their songs, as Enslaved had in their old days. More so, the riffs in this song are truly great… First two minutes are epic, melodic and truly fantastic, then the track erupts with killer, fast fragment and then again we have some slower, monumental bits – totally classic Norwegian black metal, one which I love totally.
Basically every song on this album is incredibly strong. Mûspellzheimr keeps that great quality all the time, carefully crafts the cold, dark, but also hateful and sort of melancholic ambiance. I also like the way each song progresses, the structures and general way of arranging each of these tracks. Very nice and far from the primitive, typical and uninteresting. Mûspellzheimr has no problem in smooth switching from the furiously, ear piercing, hateful part to more atmospheric passage, so there’s a lot of dynamics and diversity… I mentioned “II”, which is my favourite song here, but take a listen to also to such “III” (again a great mixture of harsh, fast black metal with quite many acoustics and more atmospheric parts) or “VI”. Some of the songs are instrumentals, mainly acoustics (but one is sort of keyboard / chanting, what sounds truly eerie), what obviously only enhance the atmosphere of the music… Damn, really great album.
All songs are called by numbers, in Roman letters. All lyrics have been written in one of the Scandinavian languages; not sure if it’s Danish or maybe Swedish or whatever, but I always liked those Nordic languages in black metal, as they create even more interesting feeling in the music. The whole artwork is based on dark, wintery photographs of woods… so, it cannot be more traditional than this. I am even more surprised that no one have putted his name on this excellent record. I will surely try to investigate this band and try to find out more about Mûspellzheimr. I will also want to get a copy of the LP version. But now I recommend this piece of black metal to all maniacs of the classic Scandinavian sound; I am sure you’ll love it!
Standout tracks: “II”, “III”, “VI”
Final rate: 90/100