Isgalder – To The Hall Of The Stars (2018) REVIEW

For all of the slightly rough edges of their viking-era Bathory inspired sound Isgalder achieve value far beyond the referential ties to their influences with a smartly tuned variation on classic folk/black metal. Formed in 2017 from members of Germany’s pagan and black metal scenes Isgalder‘s icy breath is most closely related to Grimwald‘s work in Wintarnaht over the last two decades. His Quorthon inspired voicing and love for early Falkenbach is tasteful and inspired in both projects. In fact if you’re thrilled by this EP and can’t wait for more the upcoming Isgalder full-length check out Wintarnaht ‘In Âgez’ as well, it offers some of the same influence but more of a black metal focus across it’s hour long play time.

What separates Isgalder from related projects is it’s performances, namely the inspired vocals from Grimwald that sometimes remind me of Scald ‘Will of the Gods is Great Power’ with his lovely ‘Hammerheart’-isms throughout. The black metal vocal moments are often laced with keyboards that remind me a bit more of early Helheim though I’d immediately thought of Menhir‘s ‘Die Ewigen Steine’ when I fired up ‘To the Hall of the Stars’. The keyboard work and tone of the recording is closer to early Falkenbach especially when the lead guitar work takes center stage (“The Ravendale”). In any case I am excited at the prospect of any group hailing influence from folk/pagan black metal’s earlier history that likewise incorporates the spirit of Bathory.

The carefully honed influences give Isgalder a leg up in impressing me as I’m a devout fan of Falkenbach and Bathory alike, though I am interested to see what greater melody they’re capable of beyond the rather epic pagan metal style of this EP. The Digipak that Hellthrasher Productions is releasing for this EP is worth mentioning for it’s beautiful book-style packaging with the lyrics printed in the fold, and alternate versions for each of the three tracks. Not advertising just really though it was well designed and I’m a collector of pretty things. As an introduction to Isgalder and a primer for their upcoming full-length on Naturmacht ‘To the Hall of the Stars’ couldn’t be better and I appreciate that the mix isn’t exacting because it gives the entire EP a rough, olden feeling when the vocals bleed out a bit in the mix. For those tuned towards the orthodox and the melodic side of pagan/folk black metal that pays dues to Quorthon‘s innovations this should be an exciting first breath from this German band.

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Artist Isgalder
Type EP
Released March 9, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Hellthrasher Productions’ Bandcamp!  Follow Isgalder on Facebook
Genres
Pagan Black Metal, Viking/Folk Metal

Of the olden spirit. 3.25/5.0

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