Fortid began as a solo project with the aim of telling tales of Pagan lore in the Icelandic language. Between 2002 and 2008, Eldur worked on this side project and released three works which completed the tale he had to tell.
In 2008, Fortid was given a full line-up and work began on an album created as a group effort. Pagan Prophecies was that album, and it’s due to be followed up on March 27th by 9.
The band label themselves as “pagan black metal”, but this isn’t the in-your-face, thrash-like-fuck, screaming kind of black metal. This is the type that settles over you like a suffocating blanket, or creeps around you in a darkened room. Chilling, yet you can’t stop paying attention to the fact it’s there.
While the faster, noisier elements are there what sets this album aside for me are the atmospheric intros and plaintive, clean vocals. I wish I understood Icelandic so that I could make more of them! Actually, I think there’s a chance of a quick interview with the band so I’ll see what they can tell me about the lyrical content…
Track 3, “Nornir”, is one of my picks due to the range of sounds and the basic simplicity of the song overlaid with more complex instrumentals and breaks. It’s like a simple idea which has been built on and built on to produce an outstanding piece of music but while leaving the original beginnings untouched and audible.
I do think to appreciate this album fully, you need to understand the lyrics. Listening to it, you just get the feeling that there’s a story here and it’s frustrating not being able to follow it due to being linguistically challenged.
That, however, is the only real downside. This is a good album with plenty of near traditional-metal hooks around the more harsh black metal core.