No, no, no, this is a deroute! Dear Ereb Altor, please do not spoil the grandiose path you were on! I know, I know, it's all in the eye of the beholder, and you can't stay the same forever. I did, however, adore the first two albums by this trio of Swedish latter-day Bathory followers. Majestic and beautiful, I can sit there and swim away when I listen to both silver discs.
I read reviews of the third album, 'Gastrike' (2012), and have managed to stay clear of it for fear of what was called a 'step towards Viking Black Metal in the vein of early Bathory'. Early Bathory is not a sign of quality in my book, 1988 and onwards, on the other hand, is ground breaking. The first two Ereb Altor albums had the spirit and majestic power which I see as the essence of especially 'Blood Fire Death', 'Hammerheart' and 'Twilight of the Gods'.
When I listened to the opening and title track of Fire Meets Ice, I was all joy. Yes! Whatever path Ereb Altor was on with 'Gastrike', they were clearly back on track. But, alas, my joy soon turned to dispair. Halfway through the opener, black metal squeals entered the game. Oh, horror. In the midst of this powerful, beautiful music is introduced an element which for me doesn't fit in there at all. And does it stop there? No, it happens far too many times along the suddenly rugged way.
Look, it's not a bad album as such, and the basis is still a powerful, mid-tempo Viking metal surge (except Post Ragnarök which is more like a dirty blackened thrash piece - and not a very good one at that) but for me, the beauty is partly gone and turned into something far more common than what Ereb Altor did before. Just stop the squealing, alright.