Fortíð serves us bleak black metal with much Viking attitude, and they’ve got it down pat. The band’s origin is in Iceland, but Norway is now their home. “Fortíð” is Icelandic for the word, “past,” and we’re honored to be taken back in time to examine Norse lore throughout their records. Fortíð’s latest work is “The Demo Sessions,” released in 2016. It’s a compilation of tunes that’ll leave you floored by how relentlessly gripping they are.
“Illt skal með illu gjalda” introduces the album with swarming black metal riffs and acidic harsh vocals. It’s not long before something beautiful happens: Clean vocals appear and settle into breathtaking instrumentation.
The second track is Fortíð’s cover off of a classic Enslaved record, “Vikingligr veldi.” Their version of “Lifandi lífi undir hamri” is a real showstopper that would make Enslaved proud. After this, we get better acquainted with how Fortíð have stamped their originality on the extreme metal circuit. On “Nornir,” catchy phrasing appears, acting as a reminder that the guys understand the importance of leaving listeners with something memorable. Next, the nearly rhythmic “Galdur” steps heavily while angry guitar riffs claw from a distance. “Hof” is a downright ode to emotional intensity, and the “Pagan Prophecies” is a bold offering; watch for the soulful guitar solo that appears here.
“Electric Horizon” and “Sun Turns Black” turn out to be a devious pair, unleashing symphonic tendencies that seem to command with grit.
Pay close attention to the surfacing of “Ad Handan,” which has a melancholy dawning and grows in these sorrowful tones once percussion arrives. The whole piece is wickedly delectable.
“Heltekinn” has an appealing structure. Inside, mighty guitar-work reigns. We part ways with the mournful chiming of “Framtíð.” Reflective and thunderous, it’s a fitting way to end the record.
The melodies on “The Demo Sessions” range from expressive and heartfelt to frosty and unforgiving. The traditional mystique of black metal is present. Somewhere within the tones, I feel the way Fortíð communicates an open, honest vibe in the music, and you just can’t help but pick a song and lose yourself in the grim.