Stryvigor - Forgotten by Ages
Svarga Music
Atmospheric Black Metal
8 songs (33'09")
Release year: 2014
Reviewed by Alex

If there is one thing certain about Stryvigor, this young band does not lack focus and stylistic certainty. Brought to life in the Western Ukrainian town of Khmelnitskiy, this collective is an epitome of Ukrainian black metal not only due to the place of its origin, but because of the music they play.

Before anything happens, we are subjected first to a lengthy instrumental In the Icy Embrace of North. I perfectly understand why this intro is needed. One needs to decompress, to cleanse the mind, before immersing him/herself into the Stryvigor world, but whether the whole 4 minutes of icy keyboards are necessary or something shorter will do, will depend on the listener. And then we are off to the world of mystical, atmospheric black metal, where folk-tinged melodies tower above alternating blasts and double bass, and, of course, customary tremolos. Stryvigor guitar/bass combo actually has a more nervy metallic sound in spots (Mysteries of Darkness, By Paths of Universe), which makes the tremolos comfortably non-linear. The band has a relatively clean, and rather fresh, sound to their music, where keyboards/synth have an important role in carrying on the main melody (Wherever the Stars), yet they do not overwhelm. Kudos to the band and production team for blending that instrument so organically. The sometimes unhurried melodies either roll alongside the rest of the song’s fabric (Wings of Sorrow) or soar to uplifting euphoric heights (Wherever the Stars). The professed images of heroes long forgotten, the beautiful land I also call my Motherland, pride, tinge of sorrow, devotion to the cause – all of these notions are easy to conjure when listening to Forgotten by Ages. Lyrics, all written in Ukrainian (but legible in spots for those who can understand), are sung with the passionate grim screaming, but not ridiculously overdistorted or vomited out in the cave somewhere deep in the mix.

The same stylistic certainty which make Stryvigor so easy (and pleasant) to describe may also run the band into trouble. While 100% focused on what is their banner identity, the band is simply not terribly different song-to-song, so if there is a lack of the standout melody in a song to grab onto (By Paths of Universe), the attention may drift. Also, Forgotten by Ages seems to reveal its secrets a tad too fast, the tracks I liked more coming at the front of the album. Repeated listens may not uncover many more surprises either. But to their credit Stryvigor definitely subscribe to a Cicero theory, which proclaims that brevity is a sister of talent. Whereas the songs on the album could have been easily stretched into 8-9 minutes drags, Stryvigor make their points succinctly, in under 4-5 minutes. Perhaps on their future releases Stryvigor can extend the variety in their songwriting, and then song expansion would not be only justified, it will come naturally.

If your shelves are stacked with all releases from Drudkh, Khors, Astrofaes and Winterfylleth, you may want to ask why you need to have Stryvigor on them as well. But it is precisely because your shelves ARE stacked with ALL releases from the aforementioned bands, you might find Forgotten by Ages very well done, in the style very familiar and dear to your heart.

Killing Songs :
Mysteries of Darkness, Wherever the Stars
Alex quoted 79 / 100
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