It has been 9 years since Surturs Lohe second album “Vor Walvaters Thron” in 2002. Except for a split EP in 2004 the band seemed quite dead. So I was surprised to learn Christhunt will release something new from them. In order to be honest, in most cases such big breaks aren’t that good for the bands. They raise our expectations and most of the time the come back is a big disappointing, since the “progress” or “quality” of what you get, doesn’t explain the waiting. Luckily enough “Nornenwerk” is an exception to this rule and it worth every second of waiting! I always liked the band and thought their first two albums gave them a cult status in the underground folk black metal scene. In my opinion though, their raw production and vocals didn’t help their great melodies be properly expressed.
When I got “Nornenwerk” in my hands I was expecting to listen to just a decent album. Thankfully, Surturs Lohe have moved their music many levels up! Their third full length (after 15 years of existence) is by far their best work and for sure one of the best things I listened to lately. The album begins with two epic songs, full of acoustic guitars and folk instruments, while the vocals are only female and clean male or choirs. I thought the band left their black metal side in the past, but the music was so good that I didn’t care! Suddenly in the third song “Hundlingstöter”, epic black metal vocals and guitars make their impressive entrance in the album, drawing a stupid smile of satisfaction in my face: Perfection! The band has a very balanced and warm sound. Guitars, synths and flutes have equal roles in their amazing melodies, while all different vocal types they use are close to perfection. There is nothing negative I can find in this album no matter how hard I try. Their compositions sound very mature and it is obvious that the band worked very hard to write these brilliant melodies. There are so many changes and variety in their music, no repetition at all; every single note has a reason to exist in their songs. I believe their strongest cards are the amazing epic clean vocals (both male and female) and the enchanting flutes. “Nornenwerk” contains 9 songs, all in their native language and it lasts for 50 minutes. I tend to believe there is something magical in Surturs Lohe homeland, Thuringia. I can’t explain the great number of all the amazing epic melodic folk pagan metal bands that come from this German territory; Menhir, Odroerir, Fimbulvet, XIV Dark Centuries, Gernotshagen among others!
Surturs Lohe have won my respect and took a place in the list of my favorite bands. “Nornenwerk” is a must have for fans of melodic epic folk black metal, especially to lovers of Thuringian metal. It is released in jewel case, limited digipak and limited LP versions, so you can make your choice. In their myspace page you can get a small taste of the new album with some song extracts.