Vigrid - Throne Of Forest

Vigrid take nature, mix it with black metal, and create folkish, evil sounding music with interesting lyrics. A nice break from the more conventional evil and 'satanic' sounding metal, their debut album, Throne Of Forest, heralds back to the early days of Enslaved and Emperor. Much of the music is heavily melodic in the combination of lengthy guitar riffs that sound like doom metal and a keyboard for atmosphere. Vocals howl and soar over the music with the drums plodding away in the background. Some tracks are faster than others such as "Guardian Of The Wilds" and "Path Of Vengeance" which are the only real 'aggressive' tracks on the album. Every other track features some sort of aspect that is either pleasantly atmospheric of extremely easygoing.

"Hunter's Moon" is very groove laden and mid paced with a dragging pace that is lit up by the vocals as seeming like the only 'extreme' part of the track. The guitars are very mournful in an Agalloch style and the keyboards are but a whisper on the edge of hearing (always heard) to add just the right amount of atmosphere. "Kauniin Koto" isn't black metal at all; instead it is an epic keyboard track featuring haunting female vocals. It is a huge contrast to Vigrid's usual style, but extremely pleasing to the ear hole. "Howl For The Absent Moon" feature some acoustic guitar mixed with the keyboard and black metal sound that is easily a great mix of folk and extreme metal.

Then things get interesting. "Enchanted Graves" is another instrumental that mixes acoustic guitar with electric moments, but they don't pound on in the aggressive style of black metal. Instead, each note is placed at a leisurely pace to create a progressive folk piece that is mixed with samples of the ocean meant to sooth the listener. Of course, that is far from the effect because the album isn't even over, and fans will not be sure what to expect from the next track. "Crown Of Guilt" continues the pace of the electric guitars from the last track: slow and moody. All of a sudden the vocals that usually are shrieking away start doing clean singing amongst the acoustic guitar and drums before switching over to the screaming during the more electrified parts. This trade off throughout the song may seem cheesy, but it serves Virgrid's idea about the balance of nature theme that runs throughout their music. This would have been a better finishing track.

For those looking for a band similar to Reverie, Rapture, or Thryfing will find what they are looking for right here. This album is a great blend of harsh black metal and more melodic, acoustic notes. Sure, it is dark stuff, but it is pleasing dark stuff. Similar to Reverie's unique acoustic guitar style mixed with extreme black metal vocals and distorted guitar moments, Virgrid know how to create interesting, balanced music. Hopefully they will keep getting more dynamic along the way.

  1. Guardian Of The Wild
  2. Crying Earth
  3. Hunter's Moon
  4. Kauniin Koto
  5. Howl For The Absent Moon
  6. Enchanted Graves
  7. Crown Of Guilt
  8. Path Of Vengeance

Stygian Crypt Productions
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Aug 8, 2010

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