Forndom — Faþir
Four years removed from the release of the well-received Dauðra Dura LP, Sweden's Forndom returns with a new full-length record. Faþir is 7 tracks, 35 minutes of extremely unique material. A combination of noridc folk music and ambient soundscapes, Forndom is a complete departure from the melodic metal genres one associates with the Scandinavian region.
If I had to imagine what the soundtrack to an ancient druidic ritual, performed deep in the heart of the woods, Faþir — or something close — would be it. The record exudes a feeling of relaxed mystery as it progresses the listener through a shifting soundscape that may as well be fully instrumental. The chanting, even in a completely unfamiliar language, becomes hypnotic rhythmic element after only a short while.
Tonally, everything hits just right; the sound engineering work on Faþir is masterful. There is a vast array of instrumentation employed on this album, giving everything a distinct 'worldly' sound, but everything is spread across the whole record and tastefully employed. The mixing job is also excellent, with the live instruments sounding crisp and clean alongside digital synths; nothing sounds busy and each musical voice remains distinct.
When I first stumbled across Forndom — as part of a listening binge that involved the entire Nordvis catalogue — I was instantly struck by the compositional style. A persistent undercurrent of percussion provides a steady pulse over which droning synths, stringed instruments and wind instruments and chanted vocals are layered. Each track flows seamlessly into the next, with the whole record serving as a sonic procession. The swelling synths and hymnal vocals resolve the tension of beautiful builds and subtle progressions throughout each track.
Fans of drone and ambient music would do well to give Forndom a look. This record is easily the project's best offering to date, although the previous album and the Flykt EP have their own merits as well. The improvements on Faþir are across the board: better, richer production, stronger compositions and improved vocal range. The material presented here is more sonically dense and nuanced without sacrificing any of the atmospheric qualities.
Faþir is a beautiful sound experience, both refreshing in its own right and as a departure from traditional mainstream genres of modern music. The second track, "Yggdrasil," is as much of a banger as you're going to get on an album like this, so just start there if you're remotely curious. It is difficult to convey the atmosphere exuded by this record: it rests somewhere between a fantasy movie / game soundtrack and an ancient religious ritual.
A refreshing and unique combination of ambient and various Scandinavian folk styles, the second full-length album from Forndom is a beautiful and engaging musical journey. Comprised of 6 primary cuts and a short interlude in the fifth track, "Munin," Faþir is a haunting, ritualistic expression of sound. A significant improvement from past efforts, this enigmatic Swedish artist has issued his strongest work yet.
Release date: April 3rd, 2020
Record label: Nordvis Producktions
L. Swärd — percussion, strings, wind instruments, synths, vocals
- Hel, Jag Vet Mig Väntar
Published: April 8th, 2020.