Trelldom - Til Minne
Regain Records
Black Metal
8 songs (39:07)
Release year: 2007
Trelldom, Regain Records
Reviewed by Goat

As a noted figurehead of the Norwegian Black Metal scene, Gaahl enjoys (or not) a good deal of respect from the krieglings and krieglingesses of the world. Obviously, as frontman of Gorgoroth he is a blazing torch to the scene, but his side-projects often get overlooked in favour of the – not worse, but more ‘modern’ progressions of his main band. So, when a new album from Trelldom, perhaps the best known of those other projects, comes out, there’s hope for those seeking a more traditional style of Black Metal than that that Gorgoroth hammers out. This is not least because Trelldom has been inactive since 1998, and any band that has such a large gap between releases is bound to create something interesting.

Til Minne ("in memory") is not an album that those who still dwell spiritually in the early nineties will fall in love with. In fact, it’s hard to see even Gorgoroth devotees rating this highly. This isn’t because the album, Trelldom’s third, is bad in any way, shape or form – far from it. It breathes quality, the opening salvo in the form of the title track a particular example, a blackened barrage that takes the foundation of nineties Norwegian Black Metal and shapes it into a torpedo of almost ambient darkness, guitar riffs blurring into the background whilst spoken vocals and varying drum patterns help induce that dread-full atmosphere that elevates the best Black Metal to its unholy heights. From then onwards, the band doesn’t put a foot wrong, songs having more than enough variety to keep you interested, with superb musicianship (well, for Black Metal, anyway) throughout.

The problems begin with Gaahl. For all that he is regularly held up by some as a symbol of Satanism itself, as a vocalist he is not in the blackened annuls of the premier league, and his performance on Til Minne never gets better than just above average. For the majority of the time, his manic screeches bear the brunt of the work, with the odd deeper rasp, and although there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it, if you’re experienced enough in the genre to call yourself a fan of Black Metal you’ll have heard it all before.

And that’s what, finally, keeps Til Minne back. Anyone who has bothered listening to even one album by Gorgoroth or its peers will be instantly familiar with the material on offer here, such as the Darkthroney Vinternatt or even the ten-minute long Steg that you just know will be hypnotically repetitive, a spiritual journey through the icy forests of Norway. It’s all of perfect quality, but it’s familiar – familiar like your house, like your family, and how much you enjoy this album will as much depend on your experience and tolerance as your soul. Black Metal, for those not in the know, lives or dies by the soul.

Frustratingly, there are glimpses of genius here and there. The overly long outro scream to the aforementioned Vinternatt, the Blackthrash opening of From This Past, the violin and throat singing on Eg Reiste I Minnet, the fact that the ten-minute long Steg actually is gripping and hypnotic – Til Minne, ultimately, won’t leave you disappointed. You’ll buy it, you’ll enjoy it for a while; it’ll last about a week on the playlist and then be consigned to the cupboard. Trelldom is back, the members have made a respectable album. Just don’t expect anything revolutionary.

Killing Songs :
Til Minne, Fra Mitt Gamle, Steg, Eg Reiste I Minnet
Goat quoted 70 / 100
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