Review by Jason on April 3, 2012.
"Spyhorelandet" is the sophomore full length release from the Norwegian band Formloff who has been lingering amongst the metal scene for around a decade now. As the album’s press release states, this record is a grim portrait of that which we as humans create. “When you peel back the skin, no matter how beautiful, what is left is the ugly personal histories each of us carries.” Their statement here rings true, and is felt throughout "Spyhorelandet" in its entirety.
Every track within is dripping with atmosphere and pain, acting as a reflection to our darkest moments in life. Slightly twisted Black Metal landscapes engulf the listener in all they have done. Progressive themes pulse under the drone, coming in to play in rather organic, natural manners which for the most part succeed in amplifying the potency of this albums theme. Keyboards, brass instruments and other odds and ends fit their way perfectly into select portions of songs never coming off as forced.
Musically, execution is superb, though far from demanding. Composition sits at the forefront of this entity, as it should. Layering is thought out and complements both harsh and laid back portions of songs adding both feeling and progressive vibes. Rarely do tracks wallow on paths for too long, or change too rapidly. It is not done without an occasional stir though, as the band seems to struggle with a few of the more aggressively punctuated segments they implement.
At the end of the day, when dealing with a piece such as "Spyhorelandet" one can largely judge its success by its ability to keep the listener consistently immersed. While on occasion repetitive vocal arrangements can pull the listener out of their dive into this release, as a whole it succeeds quite splendidly at keeping you submerged in every passage offered. Implementation of fresh ideas woven into the frequently traveled atmospherically charged Black Metal terrain certainly aids the release, but is never used as a crutch. In conclusion, Formloff will properly engage fans of both Black Metal and those longing for something slightly different with this LP.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8 out of 10