From the cold frosty realms of Finland, Werewolf Records presents the long-expected debut album by the Finnish black metal band Ymir. In Norse mythology, Ymir is a primordial, evil giant and the first to come into existence in the nine realms of all living things. Founded in the year 1998 by the trio Vrasjarn (vocals, guitars), Lord Sargofagian (drums) and Toni Pölkki (lead guitars), Ymir on their first full-length album incarnates the archaic force of the second wave black metal with just the brothers Vrasjarn and Lord Sargofagian now remaining. The songs are woven into the classic and the grim idiosyncrasies of the past. Across the length of thirty-six minutes Ymir ventures into the frostbitten domains by melding the semi-symphonic and the melodic elements of Finnish black metal.
The songs are masterfully crafted to evoke the ancient past by maintaining a terrific equilibrium between the keyboards and the guitars. With a vivid imagination conjuring up desolate icy landscapes, each and every instrument adds beautiful textures and melodic passages to waft a chilling air of ambiance. From the opening entry of the album ‘Pagan Mysticism‘ the widespread mysterious samples brew an effective atmosphere with the blazing riffs providing a textural backdrop to the haunting melodies. The tempo shifts frequently on the debut. Even though some tracks sound raw, there is always a change in the musical flow that interfuses rhythm and melodies. While their two demo releases gave the fans a tiny glimpse of what the band is capable of, the Finnish duo managed to create an extremely raw album full of melodic tremolos that combine energetic ferocity.
Like many other Finnish bands such as Sargeist, Faustian Pact and The True Werwolf, Ymir has the clear attributes of creating epic sensations through this sonic manifestation of pure black metal riffage. Led by grim vocals and tumultuous drums the songs are played at a remarkable intensity. In spite of the ultra-pace of the drums, the guitars are packed with layers of tremolos. When the songs shift to certain tempos the band’s emphasis is to create memorable moments. Ymir showcases great ability in adding an orchestral variation that enhances the quality of the songs. Even at the release of their first output the band has mastered a high level of songwriting and performance. The sound production is just perfect and clear.
The debut contains dynamic song compositions that merge the atmospheric synth and guitar melodies. ‘Silvery Howling’ has a diverse tone where the tempo varies from mid to fast pace and the band continues to weave a majestic opus. There are some samples of cawing crows that are cleverly meshed in the track. The shimmering effect of the synth produces an ethereal feel. Although the synth often creates an imaginative mood the use of the instrument is somehow restricted. Yet in certain moments the effect of the keyboards increases. With the guitars weaving captivating melodies the title track, ‘Ymir‘ maintains a thin line between pagan melodic and atmospheric black metal. The songs are built on classic tremolo-picked riffs displayed amid a flurry of blast beats.
Another great track on the album is ‘Frostland Conqueror‘ which offers beautiful melodies in which the rhythm guitar and the drums evoke the traditional style of Finnish black metal. Ymir’s musical style is a reminiscence of the classic era of 1994-1996. The debut album is stuffed with memorable moments. Their song compositions are elicited from fragments of early Norwegian and Swedish black metal bands. Similarly, the guitar chords change from one track to another and deliver such an immense sound. ‘Winterstorms‘ is filled with subtle symphonies and double bass sections ebb and flow. The track also contains some clean vocal passages which have a strong reminiscence to early Ulver.
The final track ‘Resurrection of the Pagan Fire‘ bursts into high velocities of blast beats as the loud swirly tremolos echo. Ymir shows a unique mastery in playing at raw and dynamic speed. At this average length, the band presents one of the best black metal albums of the year 2020. Proving that the Finns are still capable of offering an endless spectrum of wintry melodies. Finally, this goes as a high recommendation for fans of pagan melodic black metal.
Release Date: November 13th, 2020
Label: Werewolf Records
- Pagan Mysticism
- Silvery Howling
- Frostland Conqueror
- Resurrection of the Pagan Fire