Arckanum - Fenris Kindir
Season Of Mist
Black Metal
11 songs (40:47)
Release year: 2013
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

For once not having releasing an album every year, Arckanum mastermind Shamaatae skipped 2012 entirely, meaning that this year’s Fenris Kindir comes with the weight of expectations behind it. After all, taking some time out means that we can expect a better album to have been written, right? Well, Fenris Kindir is a step away from previous albums, taking on more of a stranger, ambient style and weaving it into the usual unique black metal style of this band. It sounds interesting, and is, but genuinely struggles at moments; having a lot packed into its forty-odd minutes but not always weaving it together well or using the elements to construct an album that truly stands up to scrutiny.

Which is a shame, because there’s hints of excellence. Shamaatae is a more than decent musician, his bass and drums having a touch of original style to them that ensures that Arckanum never really sounds like any other black metal band, and that means that Fenris Kindir is very listenable, encouraging time and effort to be spent on it. Generally the album moves between riff-driven black metal and strange, ambient interludes, sadly not always well – the riffs can be boring, the interludes leaving you cold. The sound-effect backed feedback of intro Fenris Kindir Grúa and the slow chug of first track proper Tungls Tjúgari are good examples of this, battering along without heading anywhere, muffled and primal black metal in serious need of songwriting polish. Dólgrinn’s groovy churn sounds like a sped-up Khold, leading to an ambient outro that slides seamlessly into Hatarnir, one of the best tracks on the album mainly for the sense that it’s going somewhere – a central catchy riff and drum beat combination going well with a strange spoken interlude.

That it follows that with the obtusely different Hamrami, an eerie, folky, plucked acoustic guitar and fiddle instrumental, really goes to sum the album up. The sheer variety of interludes like this and Vargøld, with its marching, roars and warlike trumpets, make for a disjointed and very odd album, but with a definite personality all of its own. It’s difficult to say even whether they’re more interesting than the ‘proper’ tracks, the black metal itself often feeling rather staid and repetitive in comparison. Even the better moments, such as Fenris Gangr and Angrboða, are hardly original or truly engrossing despite the latter’s female vocals, although they rattle along well enough. Fenris Kindir, then, serves as a reminder of Shamaatae’s talents as well as a frustration that he isn’t always capable of putting them to good use – ultimately much like any other recent Arckanum album, then, if more disappointing and providing less to enjoy despite that.

Killing Songs :
Hatarnir, Fenris Gangr
Goat quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by Arckanum that we have reviewed:
Arckanum - Kostogher reviewed by Tony and quoted 92 / 100
Arckanum - Helvitismyrkr reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
Arckanum - Sviga Læ reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Arckanum - ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ reviewed by Tony and quoted 98 / 100
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