Surtr – Pulvis Et Umbra

Surtr, the king of the fire giants has unleashed upon this earth a Doom Metal band with the strength to knock over metal heads with the hit of just one chord. Okay, a fire giant did not really create this group of French Doom Metal musicians, but they do take the name of a great Norse Fire Giant. Also, their music sounds as heavy as a giant’s sword crushing a mountain into a billion pieces. Surtr combines all my favorite types of Doom Metal elements into their own distinctive sound. Their style of Doom goes back to the classic sound crafted by such greats as Saint Vitus, Trouble, and Pagan Alter. Another aspect I like about Surtr’s sound is on some songs there is this mixture of Death Metal and Doom Metal. That combination of styles reminds me of England’s Cathedral, but Surtr makes their overall song atmospheres even heavier. My favorite part about “Pulvis Et Umbra” is the song’s have their own distinct dark and gloomy atmospheres. The musical structures on the album are consistently heavy and I am hooked from the start of the album to the last ringing note.

Track number one, “Rise Again,” starts off with a dark ambient sounding build up that creates a very gloomy melancholy atmosphere. During the song the tempo changes slightly to give the song a heavy feel at times and there are a couple awesome riff changes. Not only is the music brilliant, but the singer’s vocal presentation of the lyrics really stands out on the song. On the next song, “Three Winters of War,” I am really impressed by the drummers ability to create these powerfully diversely timed rhythms. He has tremendous feel and gives the music an extra punch when needed. The singer incorporates a bit of Death Metal vocals on this track which to my surprise blends well with the traditional Doom Metal sounding music. Now I must give the guitar player some credit for his contributions on the first three songs, because he creates numerous heavy riffs that each have their own distinct sound. Song number four sounds very much like Cathedral with a more heavier approach and it is definitely one of the heaviest songs on the album. My favorite song on this album however has to be “I am the Cross.” I really enjoy the dark Black Sabbath like introduction. If I were to see Surtr play this song live I know I would be blown to back of the venue just by the sure musical power that this song expels. Great Doom rhythms, killer ambient guitar riffs, and low chanting vocals mixed with some death growls in certain parts. THIS SONG IS BEYOND HEAVY! Also, the lyrics are another great part of the song because the words are down right haunting. 

Doom Metal is one of my favorite genres of metal and I am a huge fan of the classic bands. There are some new bands I enjoy, but I haven’t heard many new bands capture the early elements and expand to make the music even heavier. Well, I can tell you that Surtr is taking Doom Metal into the future with an unbelievable release. I will say my only minor complaint about the album is I wish this guitarist did more expansive solos to show off his talent. On “I am the Cross” he presents listeners with an awesome solo, but tends to be less aggressive on the other tracks. Still the music is loud enough at full volume to demolish a house or cause my roommates to tell me to turn it down. Surtr’s “Pulvis Et Umbra” is one of the best recorded atmospheric Doom Metal albums that I have heard in a couple years. I highly recommend listening to Surtr if you are a fan of the classic doom bands and want to hear the genre taken a step further. Even if you do not like Doom Metal I think this album’s shear power will capture the attention of any metal fan. Just like the Fire Giant they are named after, I think Surtr will become a force to be reckoned with in the metal community for years to come.


Reviewer: Metalhead

Feb 16, 2013

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Surtr – Pulvis Et Umbra

  1. Rise Again
  2. Three Winters Of War
  3. Sonic Doom
  4. The Call
  5. Rebellion
  6. I Am The Cross
  7. Fred Karno's Army

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