Ildskær - Official Website

Blod & Jern

Denmark Country of Origin: Denmark

1. Thyras Værn
2. Ærens Mark
3. Jylland I Brand
4. Gjennem Ild Og Røg
5. Et Lidet Fattigt Land

Review by Felix on December 10, 2023.

I was in Denmark in April/May 2005 and, naturally, I visited the memorial place “Düppeler Schanzen”, to use the German name. In April 1864, Prussian troops stormed this bulwark and gained the crucial victory in the Prussian (Austrian) / Danish war. Hard to believe, but back in the 19th century, German soldiers were able to win their wars. Ildskær from Denmark dedicate their second full-length to the bloody conflict from 1864 and they do it with style. Just like their debut, Blod & Jern is ornamented with a fantastic, contemporary artwork, painted by the German artist Wilhelm Camphausen who lived from 1816 till 1885. The booklet gives a short introduction to the historical scenario, the vinyl (red with black splashes) looks great. No doubt, these two guys from Denmark have style.

What they unfortunately do not have is a proper production. To a certain degree, Blod & Jern suffers from its dull and undifferentiated mix. One can get used to it, but it is a pity that the songs do not appear in a brighter light. Additionally, the production is not well balanced. The raw vocals (with a lot of reverb on it) almost vanish in the sound collage that the instruments create. It would be too much to say that the production castrates the actually intense songs, but I hope this promising duo will reach a better sound level when it comes to the next album. Thank God, the production is not bad enough to ruin the entire album, by far not. I am just not able to ignore the somehow stale aftertaste.

The song material does not show significant differences to their debut or their EP. Each and every song gets enough time to implement its atmosphere sustainably. Opulent designs obviously important for Ildskær. This cannot be said of breaks. The Danish historians prefer an undisturbed flow. This does not mean that they have no ideas to structure their songs in an interesting way, but they avoid abrupt changes. Either way, they like to work with different tempos, keyboards gain the upper hand from time to time (without hurting the black metal vibes) and sometimes the primal power of the songs successfully defies the weak technical realisation.

There is no downer among the five long tracks and 'Ærens Mark' is a very good example, but not the only one, for the strength that Ildskær can create. The band does not concentrate on brutality, but the guys produce a remarkable musical and atmospheric density. Sometimes they use the keyboards almost like Graveland, but this is not the main influence here. Instead, the fact that they did not readjust their style makes me think again of the scene in Quebec, where a lot of bands follow a similar approach. It is a self-confident, but never complacent way of proceeding. And with the historical concept in front of my inner eye, I feel the dramatic touch in the art of the duo. Thus, Ildskær have found a very individual niche. If they take care for a better production, their next album can be a really great one.

Rating: 7.2 out of 10