Record Label: Werewolf Records
Release: 10th March
Review by Alexander Flower
Black Metal could very well be regarded the most controversial genre in history. After the events that took place in Oslo and nearby locations of Norway in the early 90s Norwegian Black Metal scene – a time of church burning and death connected to the obscure yet growing scene – Black Metal took a hit when the local media branded the music as satanic. Despite a dark beginning, Black Metal persevered through controversy and influenced many nations where spiritually dissatisfied youth were drawn to the energy. Across the Gulf of Bothnia, Finland soon saw a rise in its own Black Metal scene, where in ’95, Förgjord was forged.
Valgrinder (Guitar/Bass) and Prokrstes Thanatos (Vocals/Drums) kept to themselves throughout the 90s and only started reaching out in the new millennium. By 2013, BLK joined on drums and contributed to the follow-up of 2012’s Sielunvihollinen. Uhripuu, the sacrifice tree, should not be shunned by the dark history of black metal, for this album is where Förgjord will guide your soul beyond the physical realm.
Richly cinematic is Uhripuu; beginning with Johdanto, you open your eyes to strangers leading you to a tree in the middle of the night. A dead body is strung up, and goatmen in the branches trick the eye as they stare upon thee with inverted cross above their blackened gaze. The dual acoustic progression persists as the ritualistic drums and guitars fade in, ending with a howl in the distance of a werewolf.
A short chant before the ritual begins; Förgjord prepares the sacrifice but wastes no time to commence the ceremony. The screams and horror consume the air before you over a mix of intense hardcore grooves and heavy black/thrash riffing. Förgjord traverses through sections and songs that never leave you hanging. Progressively more adventurous and complex, Täyttyms is their longest song with an entrancing melody that frequently revolves around tight riffs and surreal orchestral arrangements. This is only followed by an even heavier, catchier song – Vahvempi kuin koskaan.
The middle of the album contains a Finnish poem, nälkämaan laulu, which would haunt anyone new to such bleak, dark music. After which comes two more wretchedly sinister songs, one of which would make for a killer single – Tie, Totuus Ja Kuolema. It lets you sink into acoustic melodies long enough to scare the fuck out of you when they come tearing back in with their best-composed riffs. The transitions are flawlessly appropriate while the vocal arrangements are spot on. The album ends with an unforgettable send off before returning to the beginning melody.
Förgjord continues their distinctive approach to Black Metal on Uhripuu, which separates them from contemporaries Horna, Behexan, Azaghal, and Impaled Nazarene by using acoustics and orchestral arrangements to provide an atmospheric dynamic in the aim to be melodic black metal. An accessible record with riffs and grooves flooring you time and time again, but by no means a commercial release, Förgjord created an album worthy on a playlist of signature black metal bands.