What’s this? Avantgarde-Pagan-Metal? Can’t be! That’s what I thought when I read the description for a new BERGTHRON-album.
The former albums of one of the – at least in my humble opinion – few interesting “cliche” Pagan Black metal bands out there have been, though good, all but avant anything. German Pagan Metal with rich and interesting melodies, the one or the other dreamlike clean guitar, the one or two obvious OOOOOhhhhooohhhoooo-male-choirs; every output slightly better than the rest of the pack. And all of this without the massive abuse of Mjöd-plastichorn-drinking-troll-humppa-sellout elements originating from a certain Finnish band which has become so popular these days.
Now, in 2010, that: “Expedition Autarktis” – the cover looks like Reinhold Messner on his search for the Yeti on some distant Tibetanian mountain. Or, to stay true to the title, like a member of Shackleton’s crew on one of his famous expedition to unravel the mysteries of the Antarctic back in the “Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration”. I must say, the topic intrigued me the very same instant I saw the cover – and more so as I saw the song titles. Nordic mythology combined with Antarctic exploration, now that’s a new take on things. Combined with the modern, silver-red layout this promised new impulses for a very conservative genre, which badly needs fresh blood rather than a new FINNTROLL- clone.
Of course you might argue that compared to other Avantgarde-artists, BERGTHRON do not invent something completely new. It’s rather the elements, which to the best of my knowledge have been put together in a way that has not been tried before, a fresh and modern way. That, and the fact that BERGTHRON sound like no other Pagan metal band out there nowadays. This is how Pagan Metal in 2010 sounds according to BERGTHRON: RAMMSTEIN meets THE VISION BLEAK meets older ENSLAVED, or something like that, combined with BERGTHRON’s own unique melodies and trademarks. Even some Death Metal elements have found their way into their sound, for example when “Weiße Bestie (Thökk)” gains blasting speed all of a sudden. There are many ambient parts, some of them evolving into a little Drum’n’ base excursion while blending over perfectly into the beginning of “Eisbrecher (Baldur)”. The whole album sounds modern while still Pagan, and that is something which still remains to be achieved by any other band of a genre running around in circles and copying itself more and more those days.
Most important, BERGTHRON manage to paint a picture of those harsh, demanding expeditions into the Antarctic. You can imagine those pioneers on their Icebreaker ships, hear the huskies bark and feel the cold gales cutting into your face. As many Pagan metal bands, the mood is rather positive and transports a entrepreneurial spirit. Furthermore the pun “Antarctic” – “autarkic” marks where BERGTHRON stand today, indeed they stand alone, autarkic. A strong album and a liberating sweeping blow. Mrs. Chippy would be proud.
Avantgenre: Reinhold Messner Metal
Official site: http://www.myspace.com/bergthronofficial
Review online since: 23.02.2011 / 10:49:49
01 – Asymmetrisch (Ginnungagap)