FOREFATHER the third, or rather the first, because "Deep Into Time" is their 1999-debut, re-released in 2002 with a new cover-artwork (again a brilliant one by Chrille Andersson) and one bonus-track.
Altogether the material can be easily assigned to the early stages of the band, because it doesn't yet sound as mature and intricate as the later albums, which lends it a charm of its own, though. Compared to a "The Fighting Man" oder "Engla Tocyme" "Deep Into Time" is a lot more deeply rooted in Black Metal, there are more highspeed-tracks and also the croaky voice of Wulfstan is more prominent here.
But what made FOREFATHER differ already back then (the album has been recorded in 1998), was the clear voice that at least then had not been a common ingredient to Black Metal and in the meantime has grown into a trademark of the Englishmen. Musically the duo offers is a mix of fast, melodic Black Metal and the Anglo Saxon Metal of the later years, "Natural Chaos" and partly "Visions Of Elders" are examples for the fast variant, while "Deep Into Time" is completely equipped with clear vocals and "These Lands" (the bonus-track) reminds me a bit of epic BATHORY, but without copying (Wulfstan definitively has a better voice than Quorthon!) and clearly shows the later direction of the more melodic emphasis, which makes this band something so special.
Altogether the second half of the album in general features more of the clear voice and more melody, what doesn't detract from the appeal of the album anyway. "Deep Into Time" (of course) does not reach the two later masterpieces, but still, who likes Melodic Black Metal and Pagan Metal should definitively check out FOREFATHER, because you'll get something that you do not get every day! (Online August 4, 2002)