13 Oct 2017

Wongraven: "Fjelltronen"

Let's return to the past to a simpler time
With Satyricon's newest album, Deep Calleth Upon Deep, being sort of boring, now is a good time to be remembering all the great things Satyr has made over the years. Of course he and Frost have a number of amazing Satyricon albums behind them, but Fjelltronen is an oft overlooked album by Satyr.

Some have taken to calling this style of music dungeon synth. Together with some of Burzum's output, the core of the genre is sombre, heavy ambience set in a darker, more down-to-earth time in Scandinavia where day to day survival - with a touch of fantasy - was the priority.

Fjelltronen - the only output Wongraven ever had - feels like a mix of soundtracks from the 16-bit era of video games, moody folk songs and music from the age of vikings. Wongraven's compositions are tenebrous and earthy, but highly contrasted against the few passages where he lets the tunes take over and become more grandiose.

"Satyr's output probably has more in common with Summoning..."

Unlike Burzum, Wongraven also uses instruments apart from synthesizers in his ambient output. Guitars and pianos are featured somewhat prominently, and vocals are also present from time to time. In the grander scheme of things, Satyr's output probably has more in common with Summoning than with, say, Dauði Baldrs or Hliðskjálf.

Fjelltronen is more than just Runescape music, however. It has depth, and builds its atmosphere with expert craftsmanship. Sure, it could well have been the soundtrack to an SNES Lord of the Rings game (and may well have been inspired by such), but it has so much personality and character.

Funnily enough, Fjelltronen actually came out two years before Burzum's first true synth album, and has artwork by the artists Theodor Kittelsen, who has been featured on a few other black metal albums, such as Carpathian Forest's Through Chasm, Caves and Titan Woods which came out the same year as Fjelltronen.

Wongraven's Fjelltronen is very much an album that one should check out, even if synth music isn't your thing. It very much shows an interesting angle on how black metal musicians compose and what inspired them in the early and mid 90s. A Metal Archives forum user described it as "black metal, but without the metal," and that's a pretty acurate description.


Released in 1995 by Moonfog Productions


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