Vidar Våer, better known as Ildjarn, is one of the most musically divisive characters of the early 90s Norwegian black metal scene. Before he launched his solo-project, he played bass with Ihsahn and Samoth in Thou Shalt Suffer, and even did a live-stint with Emperor. As a recording artist, Ildjarn is both hailed as a visionary and derided as an untalented hack who happened to be at the right place at the right time. His discography has recently been reissued by Season Of Mist, giving old and new listeners a chance to experience the rawest and angriest albums that have ever come out of Norway.
Forest Poetry was originally released in 1996, and consists of 22 tracks of sheer aural hatred. With an average song length of two minutes, this album takes the cold rawness of early Darkthrone and adds a gutter punk recklessness. Sounding like a demo recorded on a cheap cassette-player, Ildjarn is what Burzum might have turned out as if he never expanded his sound beyond the Aske tape. The DIY-sound is completed by songs ending abruptly and the drum count-offs being left on the final recordings. The whole racket is spearheaded with increasingly aggressive bass-lines and Ildjarn's raspy screeching.
Clocking in at 52 minutes, listening through Forest Poetry can be an arduous task. The effort is not wasted, however, and there are great riffs buried in the constant barrage of hostility. While not a particularly accomplished musician by any stretch of the imagination, Ildjarn takes the grim ferocity of black metal to its crude logical conclusion. It's definitely an acquired taste, and would be a terrible introduction to the genre, as Forest Poetry is pure unfiltered sonic warfare. The unfettered harshness would later be emulated by countless latecomers, but few have been able to reach the authenticity of Ildjarn. Laying the foundation for many hopelessly uninspired one-man bands, Ildjarn stands out by tapping into something feral with his necrotic music.
The punishing sounds of Forest Poetry means that it's not likely to be in anyone's heavy rotation. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, it's a rarely matched handiwork of unpolished energy and misanthropy. Despite the naysayers, Ildjarn has earned his place as a peripheral underground legend. While his later ambient work may have seen more praise, Forest Poetry is a semi-classic of the genre, but with a understandably very limited appeal.
(Online January 19, 2014)