posted on 3/2010 By:
Ereb Altor were originally conceived back in the glory years of 1990, likely as soon as these two friends (also members of Isole) finished listening to Bathory’s Hammerheart for the first time. The End is an unabashed, sword-raising homage to the band’s Swedish countryman Quorthon, with its roots deeply in all Viking-era Bathory. Groundbreaking this is not, nor was it meant to be, and thus as an intended tribute it succeeds greatly, and should be seen as a quality appendix to the works of Quorthon. In fact, it might even be a bit better than the Nordland albums.
Nearly every element of The End is lifted directly from its source material. Included are the bombastic riffs and massive waves of sound, the pulled-string wails and male choir chanting, simultaneous electric/acoustic guitars, and the driving drumming, which is played exactly as on Quorthon’s Odin-obsessed works. Even the guitar tone and drum production are identical to that of Bathory, albeit without the scratches and limitations of recording in a garage. Because the duo firmly state their hero-worshiping intentions, the music can be easily and greatly enjoyed without the imitation-bug picking at your brain.
What slightly separates Ereb Altor from their idol is a sprinkling of doom in the style of their full time band, which also pushes the music a touch closer to Twilight of the Gods than other Bathory classics. This doom comes not only in the form of slower tempos, but also through melodic lead guitar, heard prominently during “Our Failure.” The vocals are lower in personality yet generally higher in musicality than what Quorthon offered, and further help to give the album touches of its own identity. Of special note is the vocal performance during the chorus of “Myrding,” which soars high above the music supporting it, and becomes the first instantly memorable moment on an album with several. Parts of The End may come too close to comfort for some in terms of carbon copying (“A New But Past Day” is the most notable culprit), but other parts achieve a near-perfect balance. The best example is the title song, a three-part epic which runs the gamut from high epic metal to mournful doom, using all of the tools at the band’s disposal and making a good case for turning Ereb Altor into more than just a project of salutation.
Those seeking out a more forward-thinking take on Bathory’s legend should still look to higher-profile acts such as Moonsorrow or Primordial. However, those who can never get enough of Quorthon and his immortal legacy, and also happen to enjoy evocative doom, will want to seek out The End. From one Bathory devotee to many more, you’ll be doing yourself a favor, and you might turn into an Ereb Altor devotee in the process.
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