Fir Bolg – Towards Ancestral Lands

firbolg5 years in the making, Fir Bolg has built upon the excellent “Paganism” demo (reviewed here: https://wormgearzine.com/2010/11/23/fir-bolg-–-paganism/) with an even sharper production and more noticeable Scandinavian quality in the songwriting on this, sole creator Dagoth’s debut full-length, Towards Ancestral Lands. Fir Bolg is the well considered union where old Norwegian styled black and pure folk/pagan metal unite for a classic and emotive atmosphere.

Even though the aforementioned description is still on display for this full-length, I was surprised at how far Dagoth would tread unnecessarily into other peoples territories stylistically, for tracks like “Blood Heritage” sound vocally, tonally, and note for note in the riff work like Immortal. The similarity on this track is uncanny, as if it was a forgotten song from the Battles in the North era of Immortal’s catalog, only for Fir Bolg to step out of that characteristic and back into their own realm on the following track “Banshees”. This song in particular is a well written journey that embraces a fully realized style closer to their own. Interesting guitar lines, tempo shifts and furious vocals create a vivid mindscape. The peeling away of the metal elements allow a stripped down drum and acoustic guitar line to embrace light hearted celtic melodies for that ancient times glimpse into Fir Bolg’s wider arsenal of song crafting elements. Dagoth’s vocals are pure in their mid-ranged BM screams/croak and suit this music perfectly. I really like the fact that he doesn’t stray from this delivery, sticking to what he’s good at and allowing the folk moments of music residing on this album to breath on their own, sans pitch/harmonious singing. As King of Wallachia passes by, I am reminded sonically of Taake as Dagoth once again gives a stylistic nod of appreciation to old Norwegian Black Metal. Even though this is one of my favorite musical movements in all of metal’s years of stylistic development, the inclusion strikes me as a crutch that he leans on when maybe he’s a bit lost in cultivating his own way. Having said that, such a loss of the muse doesn’t take anything away from “Towards Ancestral Lands”, for this album is rich with interesting riffs full of life and spirit. The range of intense dynamics is also something worth mentioning on this album. Dagoth doesn’t fixate on all mid-paced or fast material, rather demonstrating deftly skilled songwriting that benefits the forward motion on each track comprising this album.

I really enjoyed Towards Ancestral Lands. From the overall production, further enraged by a sharp guitar tone to the actual style of the “band”. The folk moments that peek out of the mix further add color to a world where there usually isn’t any. Even though Fir Bolg may lose sight of their destiny when it comes from falling back on others stylistic nuances, this solo project possesses a fire worth nurturing. It’s also nice to hear a French band striving to be something other than violently suicidal black, or dreary shoe gaze gloom. -Marty

Schwarzdorn Production

 

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~ by martyworm on June 19, 2013.

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