Ereb Altor- The End

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ereb Altor originally formed in 1990, but it wasn’t until around 2003 or so that they released their first demo. The group was created by Crister Olsson and Daniel Bryntse before they became members of Isole, which is the band that most people would likely recognize them from. After releasing a full length in 2008, Ereb Altor has returned with a sophomore effort called The End which continues to find them writing slow paced doom tracks that emphasize Viking themes. Although the Bathory comparisons are inevitable, the material on The End still has enough of its own ideas to make it worth checking out.

When people typically think of Viking metal these days, they typically think of bands like Amon Amarth that play fast paced melodic death metal but Ereb Altor is closer to the traditional heavy metal/doom brand of Viking metal that Bathory established in the early 1990’s. It is easy to see that the group has taken quite a bit of influence from albums such as Hammerheart and Twilight of the Gods but rather than merely cloning what these two efforts have already achieved the instrumentalists do attempt to add some of their own ideas. The End is admittedly a bit lighter than most of the other doom metal albums out there, but the way in which Ereb Altor is able to use melody as a means of creating epic soundscapes really works and listeners who can appreciate slower paced metal will surely be able to get into it.

For the majority of The End the vocals stick with a melodic clean style that at times sounds a little operatic but stays at a middle range pitch. It isn’t necessarily the strongest out there, but does fit the instrumental styles that the band has come up with and this also helps some of the Viking themed lyrical content to further stand out. Occasionally some black metal style screaming is thrown into the mix but it usually ends up enhancing the clean vocals rather than being handed the spotlight and singled out. I do get the feeling that the clean singing stays at the same pitch just a little too frequently which can cause it to get a little repetitive, but this is ultimately a minor issue that not a lot of people will notice.

There are a lot more Viking metal bands out there than one might expect, but Ereb Altor is another one of the genre acts that is worth knowing. These guys clearly understand how to use depressive melodies and Viking imagery to build up to epic climaxes that really hook listeners and this makes The End a very enjoyable effort. It seems likely that there is still plenty of life left in this project, so expect to see more from this band in the years to come.

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