Published on Sunday, 21 February 2016 20:14
Band: Ereb Altor
Album title: Blot-Ilt-Taut (tribute to Bathory)
Release date: 26 February 2016
Label: Cyclone Empire
01. A Fine Day To Die ***
02. Song To Hall Up High ****
03. Home Of Once Brave ****
04. The Return Of Darkness And Evil *
05. Woman Of Dark Desires **
06. Twilight Of The Gods *****
07. Blood Fire Death ***
* originally from Scandinavian Metal Attack
** originally from Under The Sign Of The Black Mark
*** originally from Blood Fire Death
**** originally from Hammerheart
***** originally from Twilight Of The Gods
Tomas "Ace" Börje Forsberg, known by the stage name Quorthon, a man who influenced so many artists with his band Bathory and who's considered for being one of the pioneers of black metal and is credited for creating the genre known as viking metal, would have turned 50 years old on 17th February if still alive, but was found dead in his apartment in Stockholm on 7th June 2004. With albums like Blood Fire Death (1988), Hammerheart (1990) and of course Twilight Of The Gods (1991) the word epic metal gained a completely new meaning and there's no real fan of heavy metal out there who doesn't know off the cuff the lyrics and notes of the hymn like it is for example "One Rode To Asa Bay" or the mighty "Home Of Once Brave", but I could have written down almost every song released by Bathory in the period between 1884 to 1991, with a special mention of the album Blood On Ice, recorded in 1989 and released in 1996. Ok, I think that the story of Bathory and Quorthon is well known to everyone of you dear readers.
There's one band coming from Sweden named Ereb Altor, who in my opinion is carrying the legacy of Bathory like no other. The band was formed in 2003 by Mats and Ragnar who grew up with Bathory's epic era in their hearts and since then Ereb Altor, who are in my opinion sadly by many overlooked and their music underrated, released five album, of which the last one, Nattramn, released in 2015, and previous one, Fire Meets Ice, from 2013, are both true examples of prime epic viking doom metal. Now Ereb Altor comes with a new offering named Blot - Ilt - Taut (which is old Swedish and means nothing less than Blood - Fire - Death), and yes, it's a tribute to their main influence and inspiration - Bathory. Featuring seven legendary cult hymns, released by Bathory in the period between 1984 until 1991.
Blot - Ilt - Taut is a tribute album that fans of Bathory would only hope to hear it someday. Ereb Altor did not only made simple covers, but gave their heart and soul into those tracks which by their reinterpretation retained that mythic primordial character and brute epic momentum of original timeless compositions, but yet, there's heard a new level of density, those songs became contemporary, in a way I can imagine if Quorthon would record them anew it will sound just like in Ereb Altor's case. I believe that they had a difficult time to choose between the songs from the magnificient Bathory's legacy and of course anybody can miss a track or two (I for example miss here something from before mentioned album Blood On Ice), but once you'll hear how magnificient are for example "Song To Hall Up High", "Home Of Once Brave", "Twilight Of The Gods", "Blood Fire Death" or a surprising cover of "The Return Of Darkness And Evil", which is alongside "Sacrifice" the first ever officially released track by Bathory, taken from the compilation Scandinavian Metal Attack, released back in 1984, and a prime example where the roots of black metal are.
Ereb Altor took the songs from albums like are Under The Sign Of The Black Mark, Blood Fire Death, Hammerheart and Twilight Of The Gods, of which my favorite track is without any doubt the mighty hymn "Twilight Of The Gods". Ereb Altor's version of this one embraces with such a great depth and dark sound, density, such a pathos, epicness and is more than certain that this one will be one of the highlights on their live shows. But I was amazed as well by their version of the immortal piece "Blood Fire Death" or by the magnificient cover of "Woman Of Dark Desires", all of them are made in a way that I'm sure even Quorthon must be smiling with pride in Valhalla.
This tribute album, which will be by the way released only on vinyl, is without any doubt a golden commemoration to one of the biggest names of metal music, and a superb piece of music for each and every fan of heavy metal out there, no matter into which genre or subgenre are you into. Even if you've been listening to those songs thousand times before, you'll find in Ereb Altor's interpretations enough freshness and completely new dimension of sound added that it will for sure bring back that special zeal, so often missed within the modern production, to all those who were at some point embraced by Bathory's immortal classics. Without those songs and albums the metal music of today wouldn't be as it is. It's more than evident that Ereb Altor did it from the heart and what we get is an remarkable tribute album, one of the best of such a kind I ever had a pleasure listening to. A must!
Review written by: T.V.