FESTER (Norway) “A Celebration of Death” CD review by www.avenoctum.com

FESTER (Norway) “A Celebration of Death” CD review

by www.avenoctum.com

By Martin Harris

Having reviewed the two reissues from Fester that came in rather nice digipacks I have to say, my reward I guess is to review the latest and newest album from a reformed Fester that only contains one original member, namely Bjørn Mathisen nicknamed Tiger. If you’ve not heard the previous material from Fester then it is definitely worth checking out as the band hailing from Norway were slap in the middle of the burgeoning black metal scene of the 90s when bands jumped on endless bandwagons and converted to black metal. I won’t namedrop but you probably know who I mean anyway. Fester resolutely stuck to their guns of writing desperately eerie doom death but with Fester you always got something different with the additions of thrash and black as well, but the focus was doom and death. Some 17 years later and Fester has a new album out and one that offers something very different to what came out in the 90s. The promo info seems keen to emphasise the quality of the musicians that have joined the band either permanently or just for the recording process which personally has no effect on my judgement here.

For the most part Fester has remained true to the style set down in the 90s with a slow repeating riff and hypnotic beat being used on the songs which begin with “Rites Of Ceres”, a sprawling depressive song that is closer to old Katatonia than say someone like Asphyx in the doom death genre. There is very little variation in pace and in some respects it is similar also to Rotting Christ’s “Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers” such is the steady beat employed. Within the song there is a mechanical almost industrial ethos that is fixed throughout the album and especially on “The Black Tower” that follows the opener. The pace is slow but I feel it lacks the cloying, dingy ethos from the early work, a facet that was unique to Fester. I’m not saying it is totally missing, more like an attempt has been made to reproduce it in a different way with varying effects and production style.

The songs are lengthy for the most part and the eight minute “March of Death” is exactly what you’d expect. Thunder sounds start the song before the change to the same rhythmic but slow beat that I guess matches the song title perfectly. The song tries to create an air of malevolent horror but I felt it was a bit dull which is a shame as the guitar really does have that hand reaching out of the grave feel. I did not like “I’ll Hunt you Down” one bit, and even though the pace change was OK and welcomed the clangy sound plain annoyed me. Added to that all bands should be banned from using the word “Metalized” in any song as that honour goes to Canada’s Sword for their fantastic album in 1986. Having said that the tune has more guttural vocals than the other songs and is actually a little more upbeat.

More sound effects start “Jeg Spytter Pa Deg” and this time it is the sounds of sword battles. “Last Day Of Battle” is split into two parts, the first being an intro with acoustic style guitar before moving into the body of the song which is little heavier with a good riff but again the pace is steadfast slow and unadventurous and might be what the band was aiming for but it did bore me. Closing the album is a remix of the opener “Rites Of Ceres” done by Mortiis, which is not a selling point for me and probably explains why the album has the industrial sound to it if Bjørn has been investing his time within that genre.

Despite my criticisms of the album it has to be said that Fester don’t do predictable, except for pace maybe, and definitely don’t do commercial as this album is clearly aimed at the despondent doom death freaks on the planet, those that crave slow and think anything faster than “Solitude” by Candlemass is thrash metal.

Rating: 6.5/10

Review link: www.avenoctum.com/2012/05/fester-a-celebration-of-death-abyss-records/

Fester links:

Myspace: www.myspace.com/festernorway

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Fester/204292849614033

Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/festernorwaybm

Last fm: www.last.fm/music/Fester

Abyss Records links:

Online Label & Online Music Store: www.officialabyssrecords.com

Myspace: www.myspace.com/abyssrecordsofficial

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Abyss-Records/164573050232055

Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/label/abyssrecords

Last fm: www.last.fm/label/AbyssRecords

Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/MinionfortheAbyss

Other links:

To Order FESTER “A Celebration of Death” CD, “Silence” DIGI CD, “Winter of Sin” DIGI CD and other official FESTER merchandise go to: www.officialabyssrecords.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=fester

To preview a song from FESTER “Silence” DIGI CD go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hiTvtM5hoY  or www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkSQoaAzGpQ

And to preview a song from FESTER “Winter of Sin” DIGI CD go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKH4_MK_6DI

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