Toroidh – Testament

Of all the countless Nordvargr projects, I think I like Toroidh the most. Perhaps because it has the most song-based music, because of its folky and nostalgic elements, or the large variety on the Toroidh albums. “Testament” is the third part of the ‘European’ trilogy, dedicated to the ‘madness and turmoil of the last century when two world wars raged Europe, and brothers turned on brothers’. As the final part, “Testament” is ‘a summary of the whole century and the heritage of the conflicts’. On the Toroidh website you can read the complete statement which is accompanying this release, which is a call for peace and a damnation of war, both in the past and in the present events in the Middle-East. Last year a very limited LP version of “Testament” was released, but all tracks on this cd are completely different versions.

So again an album largely dealing with war, sometimes in a subtle manner, through the use of samples, sometimes with a martial sound. “Testament” opens with some cheerful waltz muzak as an introduction. It is followed by ‘testament I’, a very fine melancholic acoustic guitar song, with classical elements and speech samples. ‘Fran mörkret stiga vi’ starts rather industrial, before a warlike battlehymn starts, with threatening voices and militant percussion, reminding me of Der Blutharsch or some of the fiercer The Moon Lay Hidden creations. The track has a dark ambient ending, sort of a silence after the storm. Next is ‘testament ii’, a surprising track with energetic, ritual percussion and atmospheric layers, combined with nasty nazi samples. Then it is time again for less serious matters, with a nostalgic waltz which forms the introduction to ‘Among us’, one of the highlights, a mixture of neo-classical and dark ambient elements, with some slow and heavy drums.

After the very dark tranquil piece ‘My will’ follows ‘Liebste Klara’, again a great folky song, with spoken German words. A fine nostalgic and romantic hymn, which is ended with a threatening horn sound. The grim and monotonous ‘Testament III’ makes me think of despair and destruction. With ‘Dr Weiskopf lebt’ thinhs won’t get much more cheerful, a very bleak soundscape, with gets some heavy rhythms as the song evolves, as well as moody strings and a sampled voice. And if you still haven’t got enough, you are treated to ‘testament IIII’, which could be a soundtrack for a film about deserted battlefields, rows of wargraves and demolished cities. The noisy bonustrack is a last flash-bak to the madness of war.

Again a great journey to the black past of Europe, which is not so long behind us (if at all). Perhaps the finest Toroidh offering so far, with a wide array of styles, without losing a sense of coherence.

artist: Toroidh
label: 205 Recordings
details: digipack cd, 1000 copies