December 10, 2017

Arckanum - Fran Marder (1995)

Fran Marder was one of the first black metal albums I heard. This was years ago, and since I wasn't really aware of what black metal flavors appealed to me most, I gravitated to this album's even sound and balance of styles. The recording is neither lo-fi nor wide open, so it gives off the gritty atmosphere of Scandinavian black metal without cutting deep into the sonic extremes of the genre. The music and pacing isn't too far off from the melodic Swedish bands Vinterland and Sacramentum, but calling this a melodic black metal album is a little much. The musicianship isn't flashy and you'll hear some hypnotic sound cycles similar to Transilvanian Hunger/Panzerfaust-era Darkthrone as well as Burzum, but again, labeling this atmospheric black metal is a little misleading. Arckanum is the authority on any forest-related metal and the pagan mythology theme is Fran Marder's most defining characteristic...if the green troll mask this guy Shamaatae wears for the album cover hadn't already given you a clue. Fran Marder is a great Swedish black metal album made even more impressive by the fact that it's a one person project. Prepare to journey through the winter taiga and possibly never return.


Fran Marder