Most of the music I listen to does one of two things to me, it either transports me to the land of imagination where my mind makes and edits its own music video interpretation of the song blasting through the speakers, or I am sent to a memory of my childhood. Good black metal automatically reminds me of my childhood home in the small town of Portland, Michigan.
One of my favorite things I did, at least once a week, was to take my allowance money and go to the convenience store that was a two minute walk by way of my backyard to buy comic books. The creepy part for this nine year old boy was the rows of pine trees that blocked the path, and when dusk or fog would come, my father would occasionally hide behind a pine tree and wait for me to walk back home, at which point he would either jump out and scare me, or stay behind the trees and make scary noises to freak me out, both of which caused me to run home as fast as my short legs would carry me. Now Aurvandil‘s “Thrones” does a good job of setting up the creepy atmosphere I felt as a kid, but the album does have flaws that take me out of the moment.
Aurvandil is a black metal band from Rouen, Upper Normandy, France, which formed in 2006. The band on this album consists of two members. Aurvandil, who is the band’s founder and vocalist, usually plays all of the instruments, except for the drums this time around. On this album the job goes to guest drummer Fog, whose other bands consists of Angmar and Quintessence. Since 2006, Aurvandil has released four demos, four split albums, one EP, and 2011’s debut full length album “Yearning.”
Right off the bat when downloading Aurvandil‘s material, I thought it was a four song EP. I soon discovered that these four songs add up to 53 minutes. I’ll touch on the thing that I thought made “Thrones” work. I really enjoyed the guitar work, be it either the long ominous mood setting acoustic opening on the track ‘For Whom Burnest Thou,’ the beautiful strumming in the beginning of ‘Ingen Lindring,’ or the powerful riff-work of ‘The Harvest of Betrayal’ and ‘Summon the Storms,’ it all fell in line with what I love about black metal. My happiness with “Thrones” ends there, however.
The black metal riffs I grew to admire on this album quickly grew boring thanks to the continuous repetition of each riff. With the songs being so long, Aurvandil is in no hurry to switch up riffs. I can say the same thing for Aurvandil‘s vocal shrieks. Yes they are torture-filled, but after awhile they all sound the same and I admit I looked down at my ipod a couple of times to see if the song had changed at all. I didn’t notice anything different on Fog‘s drumming either, it all sounded like one extended blast beat throughout the album. My last grievance about “Thrones” is the lack of a distinguished bass line. If there is one, it’s buried deep down in the mix.
So when listening to Aurvandil‘s “Thrones” I was transported back to my childhood trips up to the convenience store. The only problem is, the longer the album went on, my memory went into repetition mode, and now I have visions in my head of my Dad not only jumping out from behind one tree, but every tree in every row.