Forming in 2005, this Peterborough four-piece have an obvious debt to pay to Opeth because, if they didn’t exist, then this record wouldn’t sound as good as this. Fornost Arnor might look to the Swedish progressive maestros for inspiration, but there’s no blatant copycat, fanboy syndrome here.
Second album The Death Of A Rose is an inspirational flow of beauty and aggression. Progressively natured, the record meanders through solitary, peaceful acoustic moments, unrelenting death-growled assaults, lush clean harmonies and even slight neo-classically charged ambitions on the rare occasion.
The four-piece are clearly a talented bunch, and they do well to exploit their ideas well. Rogue sparks things off after a nearly three-minute duet with delicate acoustic guitar picking retreats to a thunderous guttural roar backed by a master-class of deep-rooted, dark riffs.
Path Marked Unknown showcases some blackened riffing that inevitably gives way to other structures in its seven-minute splendour, finalising the song to a viscous, doomy pace. Lady Heresy tugs on the heartstrings but not in a typical ballad way – it’s a romantic journey full of lush lyrical imagery and spine-shivering harmonising that further develops into a rampant fury of soloing.
Aspire For The Darkest Hour reveals another wise yet conservative influence beginning out with some Vertebrae-era, Enslaved-esque riffing and turning into a ten-minute epic. The Death Of A Rose Part I and II crown the manifold of ideas on offer and the successful deliverance of them, before Farewell closes the album in thoughtful resonance.
Fonost Arnor must congratulate themselves for creating a diverse yet captivating piece of work. This is more than something to fall back on if Opeth’s highly anticipated Heritage album takes an unexpected dive and flops upon its release in September!