01 At Fornu Fari
02 Evige Stier
03 Eit Fjell av Jern
04 Ein Eld I Djupna
05 Die Firnen Tiefen
07 Ins Fenn
The implementation of the ambient touch in black metal is something that requires some amount of compromise alongside a generally questionable payoff. When done as an afterthought, in an offhand manner or when the prevailing tone of the track clashes with sudden attempt to reign it into nebulous territory, the whole affair may seem jarring or unnecessary. I approached “Bluostar”, by one-man German band Fyrnask with a certain anticipation of a derivative slow-paced, down tempo churning in the vein of Fauna or the glacial haze of Paysage D’hiver (bands mentioned as kin or muse in the promo notes). I was, however, pleasantly surprised to find a very solid classic black metal release with an unfortunate case of stopgap synthesizer syndrome. Great riffage and dubious claims to the ambient department, place it perhaps akin to Belenos or I Shalt Become.
All the traditional black metal elements are enacted in a satisfying way. The instruments and vocals blend well and do not need the guise of low-fi production to hide inconsistencies or shortcomings (A sad trend still persistent in some contemporary bands). In fact, an element which serves to heighten the strengths of the album is the rich mastering, bringing out the bass and keeping the sound crisp and nicely layered. The melodies maintain the ability to keep your toe tapping while the distortion keeps everything flowing, strong yet smooth like a good cigar. Occasionally, the tempo slows and the tremolo abates to reveal the true atmospheric upside in this release – the drawn out high notes of the guitar and the well composed bass which string your attention along between blastbeats with a sense of narrative and development often absent from black metal.
The ambient interludes, unfortunately, add little to the album. They come as short tracks, breaking up the main pieces and consist of rumbling drones interspersed with chants. Being very much peripheral, their omission would not have been lamented, as they did seem a little out of joint with the mood and tone of the focal tracks. This, however, does not diminish the potency of the more traditionally black metal songs. An interesting thing to note is that the ambient elements only come to be well integrated into, as opposed to alongside, a song, in one track towards the end of the album – “Ins Fenn”. Here, the persistent guitar melds into the synth halfway through the song, creating a better integrated and non-jarring example of how the fusion could have been better attained earlier in the album. We are treated to a glimpse of the artist’s potential and a vision of how this young band could develop. All things considered, this is definitely an album to savour and a band to be keep within ones gaze.