PICK OF THE WEEK: Vindsval goes back toward the wintry black metal forests on Forhist debut

It’s cold as shit here right now with more snow on the ground than we’ve had in years, especially since the past many winters we’ve had very little actual frigid weather. Anyone who knows anything about black metal knows the best time to go back and revisit that stuff is when it’s frigid and you’re keeping yourself sane in heavily shadowed rooms, with a dark, strong beverage at your side.

Blut Aus Nord mastermind Vindsval has spent the better part of the last decade taking his main project into the cosmos and other strange territories while still maintaining his roots deep in the center. Apparently, he’s been feeling nostalgic for the old days, when wintry forests and chaos were the crucial main ingredients of this sound, and he revisits that on his very first Forhist record, a self-titled affair that’s some of the heaviest stuff he’s done in years. Yet, there still are stretches of imagination and wonder in what he does on these bone-freezing eight tracks, but for the most part, it’s power, riffs, riveting chaos, and infectious melodies, keeping your insides volcanically hot while your body tries to adjust to the sub-freezing temperatures.   

“I” chirps and bursts, pounding away as Vindsval’s wild wails go for your throat, sounding as vicious as he ever has. The melody surges as the atmosphere thickens, kicking into a synth gaze and then a blazing pace that keeps storming to the end. “II” brings destruction raining down from the sky as the growls wrench and jolt, warping as the sweltering pace moves into a heavy fog coverage. The track slips into mid-tempo as the glaze glistens, voices float, and thunderclaps bring you back to reality as rain soaks the ground. “III” continues the storm saturating the ground before the playing unloads and aims to blacken your eyes. Washed-out cries wrench behind the madness as the pace crushes, the vocals rip savagely, and everything ends in a pile of rubble. “IV” begins with a strange vibe before riffs attack, the synth swims, and clean vocals are muffled like a transmission from beyond. The guitars rip anew before a quick acoustic halt lets you breathe, and then the power explodes again, with the melodies warping your mind, leaving the room spinning.

“V” has the ocean roaring before the track wells up and crushes, as the vocals spray fury. The drums clobber without mercy, with the track feeling like it’s dumping thousands of hammers on your head as the shrieks disorient, charging all the way to the end. “VI” explodes right away as a rushing black metal pace gets things to a delirious pace as strong melodies work in and strengthen the formula. Muted vocals and stunning playing destroy as the pace feels like it’s eating away at your guts, swallowing you whole as everything ends in hypnosis. “VII” has riffs dicing your muscles and the playing trudging heavily as the keys blanket. The playing numbs your senses as it moves toward your brain, continually adding pressure and working at your psyche. The melodies then burst into a repetitive whirlpool that entrances and eventually disappears under the water. “VIII” ends the album, starting with a demonstrative burst  and riffs cutting through bone. The drums maul as a strange pocket increases its presence with keys chilling your flesh, guitars jolting, and the intensity hitting a fever pitch before it’s swallowed back into the ocean and dragged into darkness.

Forhist is the heaviest and most violent Vindsval has sounded in quite some time as this self-titled project debut goes for the jugular and never quits with its thirst for blood. The artist here has nothing to prove at all, as his Blut Aus Nord catalog already rewrote a lot of the rules for black metal, yet he sounds channeled like he has something for which to work. This is intense, violent, and massive, a record that might leave you reeling from its outright savagery and frozen to your core.

For more on the band, go here: https://blutausnord.bandcamp.com/album/forhist

To buy the album (U.S.), go here: https://debemurmorti.aisamerch.com/band/forhist

Or here: https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/518-forhist-shop

For more on the label, go here: https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/