Thursday, 25 February 2016

Ereb Altor - "Blot - Ilt - Taut" (Album Review)

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Full Length (Tribute)
Date Released: 26/02/2016
Label: Cyclone Empire


“Home of Once Brave” and “Twilight of the Gods” are both faithful renditions, and performed about as well as you could hope. The added heft of a modern production helps, but the execution is what really sets these covers apart, retaining a lot of what made the songs so great in the first place, and exuding a deep passion for the source material to boot.  They’re deeply affected and influenced by the subject at hand, and they’re got a strong enough grasp to really do the material justice. In that sense, a band succeeding more than they fail on a tribute album of this kind is quite the accomplishment.

‘Blot - Ilt - Taut’ LP//DD track listing:

1. A Fine Day to Die
2. Song to Hall Up High
3. Home of Once Brave
4. The Return of Darkness and Evil
5. Woman of Dark Desires
6. Twilight of the Gods
7. Blood Fire Death

Ereb Altor is:

Ragnar | Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Mats | Vocals, Bass, Guitars, Keyboards
Mikael | Bass, Vocals
Tord | Drums


The Review:

To say that Bathory are one of the most influential heavy metal bands in history is to state the obvious, but I’m doing it anyway. Whether you’re talking about the impact those first four Bathory albums had on bands like Mayhem or Darkthrone, or the important role albums like “Hammerheart” and “Twilight of the Gods” plays in the sounds of Primordial, Falkenbach, and so on; a big part of Bathory’s legacy resides in the incredible bands they’ve helped shape.

One of the best of those bands is Ereb Altor, whose work falls under that restrained but powerful Viking metal sound that Bathory pioneered in the early 90s. Dating back to their very first album, and even at the first proper metal song on their debut, ‘By Honour’, Quorthon’s ghost looms large over Ereb Altor’s whole career to date. That this album is a full album of Bathory covers not only stands to reason, but also seemed inevitable.

The only minor surprise is that two songs from Bathory’s first three albums make an appearance, although when you consider there’s usually at least one darker song on each of the last few albums, it’s not completely out of character. Unfortunately, those are also the songs that are the least effective on ‘Blot - Ilt - Taut’. “Return of Darkness and Evil” is slowed down somewhat and given a disciplined death metal treatment. It leaves the song feeling more like an Unleashed song rather than a Bathory song, and as a result some of that wild, primal energy is lost.

With “Woman of Dark Desires”, the song is completely reimagined, keeping only the base arrangement and turning it into an almost goth metal song, more like early Moonspell than even their own trademark song. They earn points for trying something outside the box, and the song is fine on its own, but as a tribute to Bathory it feels out of place. Where the album really shines is in the covers of the ‘Blood Fire Death’, ‘Hammerheart’, and ‘Twilight of the Gods’ material. In their original compositions, Ereb Altor do a great job of updating the mid period Bathory formula, so the transition to simply performing Bathory songs is as natural as could be. The clear highlights of the album are the one-two combo of “Song To Hall Up High” and “Home of Once Brave”, along with “Twilight of the Gods”.

Song To Hall Up High” get’s a slight facelift, becoming a full-fledged metal song here as opposed to the acoustic based original. The song loses none of its atmosphere, and it takes on an additional doom metal dirge quality in the process. “Home of Once Brave” and “Twilight of the Gods” are both faithful renditions, and performed about as well as you could hope. The added heft of a modern production helps, but the execution is what really sets these covers apart, retaining a lot of what made the songs so great in the first place, and exuding a deep passion for the source material to boot.

Covering legendary music is always a dangerous bridge to cross, and so many bands end up falling through creaky wood before they’re even halfway there. In Ereb Altor’s case, ‘Blot - Ilt - Taut’ reminds us of those pitfalls on a couple of occasions, but more often than not comes up with an ideal tribute. They’re deeply affected and influenced by the subject at hand, and they’re got a strong enough grasp to really do the material justice. In that sense, a band succeeding more than they fail on a tribute album of this kind is quite the accomplishment.

You can pick up a copy here


Band info: Facebook

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