My interaction with Ereb Altor began, I confess, somewhat late, as they came into my attention only in September 2016, when I watched them perform live in Doom Over Greece festival in Athens. Their excellent appearance tthat night made me curious, so I listened to their releases and I did not regret it. Their ability to move comfortably between doom, black and heavy/epic metal is clearly their trademark, which is presented again with high-quality compositions in their new album titled “Ulfven”, that is to be released on July 21st via Hammerheart Records.
In the seventh album of their career, Ereb Altor trace their own steps throughout the years, gathering together all those elements that are the core of their music. Rooted in the traditional epic doom of “By Honor” (2008) and “The End” (2010) their art spreads its heavy black metal branches following the path opened with “Gastrike” (2012), “Fire Melts Ice” (2013) and “Nattramn” (2015) with the viking metal elements and the dark atmosphere of the latter, being present in this album too. However, the combination of all of the above is not done in the usual way in which bands mix their influences, with alternations, that is, in playing styles every two minutes or so in every track. While there is a central direction here, carved by the sounds of the Swedish bm tradition and the great Quorthon’s artistic heritage, each song has a special character and draws its vital force from different creative sides of the band, while overall the songs maintain a striking consistency with each other. The epic/folk element and clean vocals dominate most points, while the amazing song “The Rite of Kraka” gives us a solid dose of black metal. In the song “Wolfcurse”, the Swedish act remembers its first two releases, with the down tempo doom riffs and the dense atmosphere. The last two tracks of the album (especially “Bloodline”) are truly matching the description of musical sagas , engulfed in the powerful aura of Bathory.
Overall, the album gains a lot of points from the sturdy structures of the guitar parts, the full and heartfelt sound of the drums, the excellent vocals in all their range and the texture of its atmosphere. Ereb Altor clearly proves two things with “Ulfven”. Firstly, the musical application of what the Greek poet K.Gogou used to say, that roots are meant to urge us to grow branches and not to return to them all the time. The tribute to Bathory, which runs through the sound of the band, is distinctive and discreet at the same time, and while they draw inspiration from one of extreme metal’s cornerstones, they are not limited by it nor are they copying it to the letter as others do. Secondly, the fact that one can still make an epic, atmospheric metal album while having the appropriate artistic seriousness, without ending up being cheesy or laughable. Mark your calendars for July 21st and get this album. It’s totally worth it. (8)