What exactly defines something as “metal” these days? An off-the-cuff answer would simply be “heavy-sounding music,” or some sort of rock music that scoops the hell out of the guitars’ distortion. But if that’s the case, how do you explain the likes of Botanist, who doesn’t even use guitar (but is nonetheless pretty heavy), or Deftones or even Edguy, who use the metal sound in different ways that aren’t always “heavy?”
I believe that what defines a piece of music as metal is an inherent darkness in its sound. It doesn’t necessarily need to be “satanic” darkness, or something religiously evil, but metal admits that there is a malevolence to the world at large, whether it’s through death, black, power, or what have you.
Sweden’s Forndom is not a traditionally “evil” band. L. Swärd, the man responsible for the project, doesn’t bow down to the typical metal ideas—Faustian dealings, virgin sacrifice, readings from the Necronomicon, etc.—instead, he takes inspiration from the Norse culture and the culture of Scandinavia in general, and this becomes the full brunt of his music.
Listening to Forndom’s latest album Dauðra Dura brings the listener back to the Norse times, where Odin and Thor and Freya were renowned while Loki crept and manipulated from the shadows. Swärd uses all sorts of traditional Scandinavian instruments and choruses (and possibly synths), to create an album that sounds menacing and prophetic, as if Ragnarök were already upon us. No, it’s not metal in the traditional sense—there are no buzzing guitars or screams—but the darkness, the pure, uninhibited spookiness of Dauðra Dura makes it metal nonetheless.