February 2, 2018

Fimbulwinter - Servants Of Sorcery (1992)

If it weren't antithetical to crown a black metal album the most cult ever, I bet Servants Of Sorcery would do well in the polls. I'm not sure how widely known Fimbulwinter is across metal fandom, but it's certainly a champion among those with a passion for the deep and dark Scandinavian stuff. Servants Of Sorcery is the earliest available release involving Shagrath from the questionable Dimmu Borgir group. There's little accurate information on what actually happened with Norway's inner circle of black metal, but it seems like Shagrath was a corny dude who clung to the coattails of the central groups. Based on how cheesy Dimmu Borgir became and the fact that Shagrath is wearing a Darkthrone shirt on his own album cover signals to me that there's some truth to those claims. Credit be given though, Fimbulwinter has got to be one of the earliest clones of the style: recording and first releasing this as a demo in 1992. Despite a varying degree of extreme low fidelity, I can hear that the band is more than competent on their instruments--which makes sense considering Shagrath and Skoll, the bassist from Ulver, went on to have very hearty careers after this. The riffs are Darkthrone worship (first song is essentially a remake of 'In The Valley Of The Horns'), but the repetition is soothing and hypnotic. The grime of the mix is something that can't be recreated anymore and I guess that's the main selling point of the album (even though I deem the band more than decent). The experience is not the same once you debunk the initial mystery of Servants Of Sorcery, but it's still some black metal which you shouldn't pass up.