I already had doubted the Metal world, that the Brits from FOREFATHER would never get a contract, but then Karmageddon Media heard my plea and signed Athelstan and Wulfstan, giving them the opportunity to present “Ours Is The Kingdom” to a wider audience. With “Deep Into Time“, “The Fighting Man“ and “Engla Tocyme“ the duo already had proclaimed its Anglo Saxon Metal three times, the British version of Viking Metal, in a quality that one does not get often.
On “Ours Is The Kingdom“ they pick up the line of these albums almost seamlessly and once more tell stories from the Middle Ages and before, from the Anglo Saxons, who had to fight off the attacks of the Vikings, authentically sounding tales, which emote strong feelings and played with just as much conviction, this music and this image are not construed, they come straight from the heart.
For the artwork they once more contracted C.A.Interactive, as already on the three previous recordings, SUPREME MAJESTY’s Chrille Andersson is behind it, very moody, the fourth outstanding effort in a row. And when I had not been all sure about the music, if it could keep up the damn high level of the preceding albums, well, it did not even take one minute until opener “The Shield-Wall” had swept away even the most theoretical of all doubts with a power and sovereignty that I am fallen for the FOREFATHER sound for the fourth time.
It is widely known that I cannot stand blast beats and “The Shield-Wall” is full of those, but in this case I can say that I don’t mind them at all! These melodies and the excellent vocals by Wulfstan make this song a true experience, accentuated by Black Metal croaks, which only play a smaller role, though. Ok, let’s take a breather before going into the second track, “Ours Is The Kingdom”. The title track more or less features the same styles, just vocally the other way around, with mostly gruff verse and clear, very catchy chorus, which again stands out from the mostly very fast song.
Now this might give you the impression that in the FOREFATHER camp it only goes full throttle ahead, but no, because the drum computer (which, btw, is very well integrated and does not sound too synthetic) does not speed ahead on one tempo, but is used pretty variedly and also slows things down quite a bit, to bring in variety. Here you really notice the experience of the two Britons. “Proud To Be Proud” is a very good example for this.
A pretty unusual track we get in “The Sea-Kings“, purely with keyboards, not the usual carpet, relatively hard to describe, but in any case we do not get any guitars here and still it fits in, very rhythmic and sounds strong… “To The Mountains They Fled” then contains most grandiose melodies, musically one could almost call it pretty heavy Power Metal with Nordic melodies, great! Add to that a “Threads Of Time” with its great lead guitars, basically again almost Power Metal!
If I had to point out the key elements of the FOREFATHER sound, I would say: grandiose melodies, great clear vocals, very varied and mature compositions. Somehow the two guys manage to get better from album to album and here there is basically no filler at all, at least for my ears, quite the contrary, also lyrically I cannot complain, because here FOREFATHER deal with their adversaries, the Vikings, pretty authentically, so the overall impression is even better.
A hot contender for a spot in my Top 5 of the year, not question! (Online June 24, 2004)