More unfinished reviews. Get excited.
If I had to compare The Flight Of Sleipnir to any band, it would be early Bergtatt-era Ulver with plenty of stoner doom and very minor sludge elements. Their sophomore release Lore is much more interesting than Kvelertak's debut, but that might be because the more 'Americanized' stoner doom sound appeals to me more than half-baked hardcore and sludge sprinkled with black metal. These Colorado doomsters do incorporate the same ethereal folk elements you're used to hearing from Garm and gang into their sound. They even have the whole Scandinavian mythology thematic going for them too, although it is a bit less genuine than their sound.
Much to my surprise on Lore the folk elements and clean vocalwork are what stand out the most. The distorted guitarwork is mostly standard, mid-paced doom fare. The acoustic guitar interplay with the thicker, fuzzed-out chugging makes for a compelling atmosphere that the clean vocals compliment perfectly. I'm not sure whether drummer and guitarist David Csicsely or guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist Clayton Cushman is the primary clean singer, but they both have some coinciding lines and are both excellent at what they do. I know it's a rarity for me to appreciate clean vocals in metal, but The Flight Of Sleipnir keep it low-key enough to maintain their integrity. Then again the vocals are mixed low in general, but I don't mind. Keeps the music sounding distant, like the roaring of thunder in a great fjord.
More on that acoustic guitarwork -- it's beautiful in all the right ways. The acoustic segments are haunting yet not overly cheesy like The Mantle-era Agalloch, organic without sounding forced, and intricate enough to remain interesting. "Fenrisulfr" and "The End Begun" is their peak on the album, with the former being more haunting and the latter being more flowery. There's an abrupt change in tone with "No Man Will Spare Another," as the closing part is the most aggressive I've ever heard The Flight Of Sleipnir. There's even guttural lows hidden in the mix, although that might just be an effect added as a separate layer. The closer "Let Us Drink Till We Die" is aptly morose and melancholic and features female (backing?) vocals.
With a solid mix, great acoustic - electric interplay, and a more atmospheric take on stoner doom, The Flight Of Sleipnir's Lore is a great release. I wish the doom elements were more along the lines of those present on their third release, Essence Of Nine though.
7.5 out of 10
2. Of Words And Ravens
5. The End Begun
6. Black Swans
7. No Man Will Spare Another
8. Winter Nocturne
9. Let Us Drink Till We Die