Varde - Fedraminne
Nordvis Produktion
Black Metal
8 songs (62'03")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

I truly envy people who can get in touch with their inner self, nature around them and native roots of their country’s history and then express it wholeheartedly in the form of music. Norwegians Varde managed to do just that on their debut album Fedraminne and there is no better music label than Nordvis Produktion to bring it to us. This Swedish label is the home of my most favorite black metal acts and has an ear just for the style of black metal presented on Fedraminne.

Varde was founded in 2017 by Koll (vocals), Nord (guitar) and Dar’n (drums) with the bandmembers previously involved with Alsvartr, Nordjevel and Dodheimsgard. Ever since the days of Alsvartr, Koll had been collecting Norwegian 19th century poems that he wanted to use in a musical context. Taking off the facepaint and reaching out for a lot of depth Varde became just an engine to express this vision.

Personally, I have been hooked from the moment piano/synth melody started playing in Kystbillede del I. Rousing, tremendously epic, rustic, archaic, undeniably folky and melodic, yet intense and monumental, Kystbillede del I spills overboard with the emotions and makes a statement. Expansive, more than 13 min long, Kystbillede del I oscillates in multiple planes from blackened folk to ferocious black metal. The whole of Fedraminne is like a complex polyhedron, all of its sides shining and reflecting in different light, yet making one cohesive whole it sounds so organically. The beginning of Halvdan Svarte and just about the whole Et Gammelnorskt Herresæde are dirty, despondent, scraping bottom and grating the listener sideways. Reminding me of Khold, Halvdan Svarte, despite its clanging dissonance, still finds the way to present some cleaner and more harmonic sections. Koll med Bilen del I is just as insistent as Halvdan Svarte with guitars giving off strange gurgling sounds. Forbundet is Sargeist/Horna blackened grind, not as lo-fi and bestial, but no less epic and swaying. Title track, on the other hand, is total folk, acoustic, Grieg-like opera overture full of ritual recitations and saxophone (!) lead, which would totally appeal to the fans of Wardruna and Vintersorg. Title track precipitates into inhuman, electronic and industrial Skuld announcing the arrival of a mad shaman. Closer Kystbillede del II is ominous trance incarnated, with repetitive drums and base ratcheting up the pressure and piano notes dropping seemingly in a random but foreboding fashion. The explosion is inevitable, comes midway, yet apocalyptic distanced feel and synth make their final return.

Vocals on Fedraminne are just as multifaceted as the music, and interestingly enough they always fit the spirit. At times clean ( Kystbillede del I), at times absolutely vomitous and crazy (Et Gammelnorskt Herresæde, Koll med Bilen del I), native folk (title track) or mentally unstable possessed minstrels (Kystbillede del II) – nothing here stays static.

If you like any of the black and blackened acts I referenced throughout, or appreciated Verdunkeln, Mistur, Grift (but not so suicidal), Nasheim or even ancient and historic Ulver, you owe it to yourself to sample Fedraminne.

Killing Songs :
Kystbillede del I & II, Forbundet, Fedraminne
Alex quoted 90 / 100
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