Friday, November 13, 2009

Fjoergyn - Jahreszeiten (2009)

The third full-length from the avant-garde Germans Fjoergyn features more of the minimal cover art on white background, and more of the band's experimentation, though most of the material on Jahreszeiten dwells within the familiar realms of melodic black metal. Harsh and clean vocals, sweeping orchestration, and lots of piano amidst the glorious guitar guitars. Fjoergyn is a 'different' band, but not so different to alienate listeners, and not taking it to a level that Arcturus or Solefald might.

"Auf bald..." opens like theatrical credits, pianos briefly converging with the swell of strings before the guitars and German growls and crooning transform into a raging Viking blitzkrieg. Like most of their songs, the music transforms often throughout this, like an ever evoling narrative, and helps to maintain the listener's attention. The individual riffs have enough inherent quality to peak the curiosity for as long as they exist. "Verklärte Welt" is happy, almost celebratory, with Stephan adding his whispers to the German pop rock/melodic folk metal hybrid. "Sturmzeit" briefly brings the more traditional rush of warfare, and "Der Himmel fällt" just has it all, a landscape of flowers with a few schizophrenic, bestial musings. Some tracks range farther abroad: "Jera" is sheer narrative orchestration, and "Der Herbst ist da" is brooding and gothic with some electronic beats and choir samples. But, like all good experimental metal records, it all flows together somehow into a unique vision.

Jahreszeiten is as good as its predecessor Sade Et Masoch, and recommended for any fans of the more meandering, genre-hopping artists with black metal roots (Arcturus, Solefald, Fleurety, etc). The vocals are German, so if you've got a problem with hearing that, it is possible the album might make you too squeamish to appreciate the fine musical brush it paints with. I think it's an entertaining album, especially when you've got the time to absord all 52 minutes in a single sitting. Fjoergyn is an intelligent band, and though they don't 'fit in' perfectly to any empty slot in the metal puzzle, they are worth hearing.

Highlights: Verklärte Welt, Der Himmel fällt, Der Herbst ist da, Jera

Verdict: Win [8/10]

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