Ildjarn - Forest Poetry
Norse League Productions
Black Metal, Noise
22 songs (51:52)
Release year: 1996
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Ildjarn’s chief claim to fame is briefly being a live Emperor bassist, but the mysterious Norwegian also had a self-titled project. And, amidst various albums, mostly ambient, deep in the band’s discography lies this deceptive little bastard, armed with a name and artwork which suggests some Bergtatty stroll through gentle, kind trees, perhaps with a picnic. As you’ll know if you actually play it, the Forest Poetry experience is nothing like that. Imagine yourself in a forest at night in a blizzard, being chased by some mad snarling goblin with an axe, frequently running into trees and knocking yourself senseless – whereupon everything goes quiet as you pick yourself up and start running again. The production is very raw, the drumming is a primitive racket, the bass is loud and obnoxious, there are no songs, just counts-in and abrupt endings. There’s no melody or structure, and the instruments form one deranged DIRNGA-DIRNGA-DIRNGA-DIRNGA-DIRNGA that makes Venom’s Black Metal sound like the lushest Nightwish song in existence. I’d forgive you if you listened to a single track and declared it the worst garage band in the world at rehearsal.

So, why give it any time or space? Well, this review has taken me a while to write, actually, mostly because any arguments I had in favour of the album fall apart like a leper in a wind tunnel when I realise how little of it I can stand to listen to at once. Not that there are many arguments to make for it – you can’t claim that it’s hypnotic a la Burzum, since the songs are all a lot less than four minutes long, and stop just as you’re beginning to unearth some atmospheric value. There’s no gradual build-up to some epic realisation, since every song sounds more or less the same. Let’s be honest, if you listen to this at all, you listen because you are grim and kvlt as hell and enjoy putting yourself through torment, which is hardly a recommendation.

But, and here’s where I run the risk of falling into pretentiousville, the extremity and sheer unfriendliness of the album is its strength. By all accounts Ildjarn himself was a miserable misanthropic bastard who hated everyone and everything, and set out to prove it through Black Metal – well, he completely and utterly succeeded. Let’s be honest, however, you’re not going to like Forest Poetry unless you’re in the mood for Forest Poetry, making this a piece of art created solely for its own purpose. Why listen to Forest Poetry? To listen to Forest Poetry. There is no other excuse, frankly – you can pretend to enjoy it, but “fuck you, I just listened to the whole of Forest Poetry!” remains one of the most potent and powerful Black Metal put-downs in existence.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted 40 / 100
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