Release year: 2022
Label: A.D.G. Records
Though the genre evolves, refuses to stay still and constantly finds new ways to manifest itself, the past is always alive in black metal. And whilst, certainly, throwbacks to the nascent years of the 80’s are not uncommon, it is the spirit, style and aesthetics of the 90’s that are the most frequent form of necromancy within the genre.
Swedish Rimthurs are firm believers in dredging up the sins of the past. Though the one-man band apparently started out already in the mid-90’s, their first releases are from the noughties and only now, 18 years after their first demo, does their third album see the light of day. And it’s a day that could have been taken from a 90’s calendar.
Rimthurs’ brand of 90’s old school black metal is a somewhat nondescript take on the Scandinavian sound. Buzzsawing tremolo riffs, mainly speedy tempos, tortured shrieking for vocals – the whole lot. A lot of Norway, with maybe a bit of their native Sweden thrown in for good measure.
True, they do intersperse the generic 90’s sound with some slightly post-black sounding passages and segues of atmospherics, and throw in some clean vocals here and there. For the most part Thursamál consists of stuff the 90’s could call and want back.
Basically, as far as emulating the old sound, Rimthurs do a decent enough job. This sounds like yer run-of-the-mill 90’s nordic black metal. Maybe there’s a bit more bass in the mix than actual 90’s bands used to have, but that’s a trivial detail. However, herein lies also the problem with Thursamál: it sounds like yer run-of-the-mill 90’s nordic black metal. The album offers nothing you haven’t heard before, and doesn’t do it exceptionally well, either.
The result is a rather mediocre album. I don’t mind listening to this, but I’ll most likely feel no need to return to it after I’m done with this review, either. It’s very generic, quite dime-a-dozen and doesn’t have a whole lot of character.
But that’s not to say this is a bad album, because it absolutely isn’t. It’s a rather well-made pastiche that manages to sound authentic. It’s raw, but not self-servingly so, the tracks flow nicely and the musicianship seems to match the required level.
It’s just that it’s doing a pastiche of a thing so over-done already, you have to be pretty darn exceptional at it to get me a chubby. Sadly, Thursamál doesn’t quite do that.
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