Fjoergyn – Lvcifer es (Lifeforce)

Tuesday, 18th April 2017
Rating: 7/10

The point of avant-garde black metal is to not make things easy. “Difficult” wouldn’t be the right word, for that insinuates the music is subpar; “not easy” is perhaps the way to go. If bands of this thread could be digested in one go, then they too would be hunkered down with vast orchestras for DVD release. (See: Borgir, Dimmu.) But they’re not, so often they sit on the fringes of mass black metal acceptance, like Germany’s Fjoergyn. A largely unknown quantity on this side of the pond, the Germans inked a deal with Lifeforce (who is a German label) for the release of their fifth album, Lvcifer es.

Guided and fronted by Stephan L., Fjoergyn’s comparable brand of sideways black metal never quite uncoils the melodic swaths Arcturus can, nor do they get all inverted and theatrical like Solefald. Instead, there’s a focused, direct black metal attack to be found on numbers like “Leviathan” (saxophone solo and all), while the title track finds the band toying with folk-like acoustic guitars and pounding, primal metal that isn’t too far removed from Thyrfing’s glory days. The album eventually comes to a head on “Freiheit,” where a cascade of worming melodic guitar lines and organ strokes make for what is the most compelling number of the bunch.

Lots to exhume and consume here, particularly since Lvcifer es tips the running time scale at over an hour. This means there’s plenty of opportunities to let things go off the bend, then around again, those prickly guitar riffs, stalled rhythms and complex arrangements eventually having some kind of effect…whatever it may be. An avant-garde black metal tour-de-force this is not, but Fjoergyn certainly isn’t lacking in the pomposity area.

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