Gurtholfinn – The Forest Of Long Awaiting

This is definitely something I didn’t ‘get’ upon first listen. This isn’t really any fault of the music; more a fault of my own preconceived notions as to what this sort of music would be like. After I’d gotten my bearings, though, I realized ‘The Forest Of Long Awaiting’ for what it is: beautiful, organic music the conquers most out there today.

I would call this a sort of blackened folk; not blackened folk metal, oddly enough. I find little metal at all on the music here. Only three songs of seven feature distorted guitar, and only two of those I would genuinely describe as ‘black metal’. The rest is a gorgeous breed of ambient folk unlike anything I’ve heard before. Subdued acoustic guitar with periodic black metal-style vocal accompaniment along with some very quiet drums creates a sublime sense of naturistic melody that is utterly soothing and honest. This demo screams ‘truthful’; there’s not even the slightest amount of pretense in this work, despite how it may look like it with its seven track and hour-long running time. No, this is a pure work that most certainly comes from the heart.

The tracks seem to be split rather arbitrarily; they all segue into each other neatly and logically, and frequently sections with go over and under each other haphazardly (such as ‘A Silent Lake’s’ strange two simultaneous songs half way through). The music is impossibly lush and natural; little emphasis is placed on timing or structure, only melodies weaving in and out of each other in an awkward yet Earthen atmosphere. I would almost describe it as Drudkhlike in atmosphere, though obviously less intense and more driftingly beautiful.

The two epic-length black metal tracks which together form half of the demo are fantastic as well. ‘A Path Out’, the highlight of this CD by far, is one of the finest pieces of black/folk metal I’ve ever heard. And this isn’t achieved through a heavy-handed attempt at ‘progression’ or ‘avant-garde’ elements; purely through truth and a genuine feeling of love for nature and for the music. Organic, impossibly so, as if the very notes and chords were made up of leaves and raindrops, like each reverb-drenched shriek is from an ancient tree deep within the forest. Absolutely masterful.

Gurtholfinn is an artist who I can see having a small, dedicated legion of followers who will immediately snap up everything they release. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if there is any justice this legion will be many orders of magnitude larger than it currently is. Get this demo now.

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~ by noktorn on April 9, 2007.

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