Release DetailsLABEL Season of Mist
RELEASED ON 9/27/2013
TAGGED Twilight of the Gods
this is a first-rate representation of old-school metal that avoids feeling like a dusty xerox.
Twilight of the Gods
Fire on the Mountain
What, Ice Dale and ICS Vortex couldn't make it to the mountain in time?
It's not difficult to comprehend why a sizable portion of today's metal fans are pissing their pantaloons over the anticipation of this particular project. A shared goal of conquering through classic heavy metal as delivered by an assemblage that includes Alan Averill (Primordial, Dread Sovereign, Blood Revolt) on vocals, Rune Eriksen (Aura Noir, Nader Sadek, ex-Mayhem) and Patrik Lindgren (Thyrfing) on guitars, Frode Glesnes (Einherjer) on bass, and Nick Barker (every heavy metal band known to man) behind the kit? By Sleipnir's hooves, that's one Hell of an epic convergence.
Twilight of the Gods – as I'm sure most of you have discovered by now – was originally pulled together to pay tribute to the man whose sixth album bears the same name. But the early odes to Bathory served mostly as the bedrock, as Fire on the Mountain culls seven original tunes that, surprisingly enough, don't sound very much like Bathory at all.
Well, I suppose that's not entirely true – a pinch of Quorthon's more galloping, epic elements are hinted at here, but this record really sounds more like these veteran battlers got together under a stewed moon or ten to discuss the significance of classic platters such as Restless and Wild, Strong Arm of the Law and Hail to England, and eventually decided to push their take on the style.
The majority of the fare gives a steady, mid-paced gallop top priority, but fiery break-outs dust the corners just enough to ensure ample stage-storming opportunities for those fortunate enough to witness these tunes fired from a stage. The brassy, old-school riffing at the heart of "Preacher Man" is the album's most glaring nod to something you might hear from a band like Accept in the early 80s, and sharp rumblers such as the opening "Destiny Forged in Blood," "The End of History," and the rousing title track all cleanly demonstrate precisely how to pay proper fealty to the forefathers without transparent regurgitation. But even as strong as those cuts are, it's the hulking "Children of Cain" that stands as the album's highlight:
As expected, Alan Averill delivers a level of intensity and conviction that borders on the fucking ludicrous. Seriously – in that regard, this guy is the closest thing to a modern Bruce Dickinson that we have in our genre today. If you can sit through Fire on the Mountain without eventually strutting about and emphatically pointing at inanimate objects and waving the Irish tricolour, you're a stronger man than I. And yes, the rest of the players bring their A-game as well. One of my favorite elements about this record is the fact that a subtle complexity slinks beneath the seemingly straightforward surface. It's melodic without hitting you over the head with twelve guitars, and Barker's nimble fills and bright cymbal-play add a depth and sly punch that really drives the nail home.
Gauging an album such as this right from the gate is surprisingly difficult, considering the inflated hype and high-caliber cast involved. Once the dust eventually settles, however, the picture becomes quite clear: this is a first-rate representation of old-school metal that avoids feeling like a dusty xerox. It may seem like an odd comparison, but Skyclad's (least folky) debut continuously manages to wriggle to mind after this gets a spin. Not necessarily due to an outright communal sound, but because both albums successfully administer classic, galloping heavy metal behind a dynamic vocalist vigorously hurling smart, rousing lyrics. If that's the sort of thing that rings your bell, Fire on the Mountain is your heathen metal call to arms.