Album Review: Feskarn – Ravens Way

Feskarn is a one man Folk/Pagan/Viking Metal band hailing from Uppsala, Sweden. The one man being Niklas Larsson along with new studio gear, Ibanez guitar, soundcard and upgraded software, he has created the album ‘Raven’s Way’ full of viking elements with throat singing, choirs, shaman drums and mouth harps.

You can hear the influence from Larsson’s early electronic work with the use of striking synth and choral voices on opening track ‘Ravens Way’ and second track ‘Broken World’. Looping riffs build up before the metal explodes. ‘Ravens Way’ explodes with gutteral growls braking through screaming the birth of new metal album as the track thunders along.

‘Broken World’ Starts much the same way with quick fingered synth work, but with the guitar taking on a more intricate lead line as the drums kick the hell out of the track, powering it along. Larsson’s vocal work really starts to shine. It’s his ability to death scream yet the growl is just on the right side of understandable. The guitar lends a sense of emotion that cuts through the mix.

Next up the more pagan aspect takes over with tracks ‘Sigur’ and ‘Vägen framåt’. Both opens with ominous drumming and viking chanting with what sound like a mouth harp joining the chant as a heavy rain falls on “Sigur’. Just one of the many touches this album has. They both take on a haunting funeral chant. A lament to a dead viking warrior perhaps. ‘Sigur’ turns pretty heavy before mellowing out with a pagan ritual throat singing breakdown. ‘Vägen framåt’ has some impressive vocal work and the peace is shattered by a wall of sound brings evil sounding voices from out the darkness.

‘Parasite’ is not content with fusing death metal and electronic synth work as Feskarn brings in more traditional strong instruments. To etch out eerie melodies. Pushing the boundaries even further theres even a spot of whistling. It all works as the album doesn’t restrict itself to a genre. But borrows and twists sounds to create a truly folk metal mish mash of sounds.

The synths return leading the way with ‘War’ as a stringed instruments lay down a viking influenced melody over punishing guitars. No holding back the metal on this track either.

 Theres a hint of dance music with the intro synths on ‘Relics from the Past’ Quickly forgotten once the track gets going. Deep vocals give rise to the viking theme again and Larsson’s ability to create several voices is a great knack that brings interest to the album and this track in particular. The skill to mix his vocals like this shows off the guys talent.

‘Livets tid’ carries on the great vocal work over piano like synths. More restrained guitars keep this track at a more relaxed pace as the folk elements compliment the heavier metal side of the album.

‘Strong From Nature’ A combination of mouth harp and bird sounds lends an almost hypnotic quality which is only further enhanced by the whispered voice and the throat singing that joins them. There’s nothing on this album that sounds out of place or not required.

‘Destroyed’ leans more on the metal side yet still incorporates the folk elements that “Strong From Nature’ used. Shouted vocals over driving guitars and melodic synths that imitate woodwind and strings instruments. An over looked strength of this album is Larsson’s expert use of the manipulation of the humble synth to create a whole cacophony of sounds to help create his vision.

The album ends with a heavier folk/pagan aspect starting with ‘Yggdrasil’ and its floating vocals laid over a forest/wood scene of bird song and flowing water. This creates a magic that is only entrenched with the addition of mouth harp and relentless pounding of a Shaman drum in the background. Throat and guttural vocals enter bringing a heavier presence with them that just extends the mysterious air this track has. Keeping with the pagan feeling, the electronics return with track ‘The Frost of the Fallen’. Percussive synths lay a bed for some coral chanting.

The opening of a beer bottle is quite fitting to the closing track ‘Ein Bier’. A short track thats a well deserved celebration as the metal is brought back. An ode to getting drunk after creating this absolute masterpiece of musical sounds.  

The impressive thing about this album is Larsson’s ability to create atmosphere through pagan sounding chanting and using sound effects such as the ravens and rain fall. With tracks like ‘Sigur’ and ‘Vägen framåt’ bringing the viking vocal work as ‘Parasite’ and ‘War’ adds some genuine heavy metal breakouts that would kick off a mosh pit where ever they get aired.

His ability to fuse genres is jaw dropping in places. ‘Relics from the Past’ ‘Livets tid’ and ‘Yggdrasil’ all go to show how everything just works so well together. The former track displaying Larsson’s incredible use of vocals, from throat singing to chanting to full on death. He ability to manipulate his voice to change the timbre and sound has you thinking there are a bunch of guys and not just one man involved here. A fact that carries on the jaw dropping.

Check out the track ‘Livets Tid’, below:

Find out more via the bands Facebook

The album will be released in a standard version and as double CD limited edition of 100 copies with unreleased remastered songs via Vegvisir Distribution

Order the album here

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