Recommended Aussie Band:Tamerlan Empire | Sydney Symphonic Black Metal | Listen

Album Reviews : Fenrir – Fenrir

By on January 3, 2014

Here I was wearing my Moonsorrow t-shirt and about to listen to Fenrir’s debut self-titled EP. If I’m to be frank though, I honestly wasn’t really expecting much more from this EP than some sort of Moonsorrow or Ensiferum clone (and I know that sounds harsh). It turns out I was dead wrong, however.

Listening through Fenrir, it almost felt like at times I was listening to Angel Witch or Diamond Head, as opposed to something like Bathory or Månegarm. Not that that’s in any way a bad thing. In fact, it was surprisingly refreshing. I’ll be the first to admit that I love Viking metal (bands like Bathory, Týr, Moonsorrow, and Månegarm are some of my all-time favourite bands), but that being said, it seems to have become what seems a rather formulaic genre in recent years, as well. Bands such as Týr have had an advantage here with people like Heri Joensen which helped to make their band standout from the rest with epic vocals and arrangements, whereas other bands like Månegarm, even though they’re fantastic, have at times fell short with a sound that doesn’t seem all too different from Hammerheart-era Bathory at times. The usual blend of heavy, folk melodies interspersed with clean and black vocals.

Clocking in at just over 20 minutes, what Fenrir have done here is managed to create something that feels different; and I’d dare say unique. And originating from Sydney, while managing to successfully channel the feel of the Scandinavian north, is a commendable feat in itself.

Founded in 2009, and so named after the great wolf spawn of the Norse trickster god, Loki, and the creature prophesied to devour Odin at the end-times, I almost envisioned Fenrir while listening through this EP as being the end-result of a side project by Blind Guardian, had that band decided in their Tales from the Twilight World speed metal years to venture out into recording a Viking metal album (that’ll probably never happen, but it would be awesome!).

Incorporating a blend of speed metal and folk with galloping, yet distinctively heavy, riffs Fenrir is quite a nice little surprise if I do say so myself. And a great find.

In the spirit of the great Icelandic sagas of Nordic myth, the EP opens with instrumental, “Fimbulwinter”, helping to set the tone of the album, and serving as a fair indication of what’s to follow.

As the Månegarm-level riffing of Anthony Ierardo segues into “Jarnvid”, the track roars into familiar Viking metal territory as the one-two punch of George Delinicolis’ drumming is coupled by the flute-playing of frontman, and classically trained flautist, Duncan Therkildsen Jones, who then goes on to tell the story of the end of the world; the great, devastating event known as Ragnarok which is to be the doom of the gods, through the power of song.

Followed by “Moongorger”, the excellent storytelling on this track further fuels the battle metal themed anthem, and in fact that’s what the band labels their music as: ‘battle metal’. A subgenre founded by Finnish folk metaller’s, Turisas. In similar vein to bands like Turisas and Moonsorrow, the members of Fenrir wear attire and coat themselves much the same in what appears to be blood and gore. It fits the overarching feel of the band, and equally the EP, quite well. And I think the bands onstage presence should only help to further cement their reputation in the Viking/folk metal world (Fenrir have already opened for Eluveitie in Australia, and played live alongside fellow Aussie folk metal act Claim the Throne, among others) by theatrically and musically engaging their audience, and coaxing the listener into their world.

Fenrir truly hit its stride with “Freyr’s Despair”, and once that track rolls around, both itself and the track that follows, “Ragnarok”, are two of the best examples I’ve seen of Viking/folk/battle metal (or whatever you may care to call it) outside of the Scandinavian acts that made it famous. And I’m sure it is only but a hint at the great things that are to come from this band in the future.

As a whole, Fenrir is one of the most solid EP’s I’ve heard this year, and is a great example of how diverse our country continues to become musically. Fenrir is yet further evolution in the Australian metal scene, and I can only see this band continuing to grow from strength to strength.

Band: Fenrir
Album: Fenrir
Year: 2013
Genre: Folk/speed metal
Label: Independent
Origin: NSW
facebook.com/FenrirAustralia

Track listing:
1. Fimbulwinter
2. Jarnvid
3. Moongorger
4. Freyr’s Despair
5. Ragnarok

About

Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.