Ereb Altor – Fire Meets Ice (Cyclone Empire)Tuesday, 16th July 2013
Considering 2/3’s of Ereb Altor’s lineup holds court in Swedish doom masters Isole, a certain expectation of quality loomed for their third album, Fire Meets Ice. You can see the Bathory homage based on the title, a tag that Quorthon probably kicked around when he was breaking ground during the transitory period from Blood Fire Death to the immortal Hammerheart. However, this isn’t some careless rewrite of the Bathory catalog, nor is it a banal Viking metal voyage: it’s epic and climatic metal performed with conviction.
The cuts on Fire Meets Ice are big and virile, dominated by the wintry landscape of Scandinavia. The clean vocal blend is probably where the Hammerheart line gets drawn, especially on the title track where vocalist Ragnar showers the track with chants and background vocals to the max. It creates the epic feel we were discussing in the intro, and is replicated on the excellent “Nifelheim,” which serves as the most morose track of the bunch, and perhaps, a take on Isole’s doom-laden sound. Elsewhere, he Nordic flavor on “The Deceiver Shall Repent” has an immediate impact, as more clean vocals lead the way down tales of treachery and bravery, while the savage “Post Ragnarok” is the album’s most brutish and black metal-sounding escapade.
A notable bump over 2010’s The End and 2012’s Gastrike, Fire Meets Ice is the album Ereb Altor were always threatening to make. Bear in mind that this isn’t Bathory worship at its finest or fullest; it’s simply an extension of the ideas Quorthon put in place over two decades ago. Ereb Altor are simply working to perfect and build upon them, that’s all.