Nottingham’s Fjords were once known under the name of what has now become the title of their debut full-length, ‘Onirica’, and though it’s taken a few years to refine and come to fruition, the progressive metal outfit have come to show patience is a virtue.
Traversing the realms of melodic death metal, opener ‘Into The Vista’ opens with smatterings of screams, growls, and clean vocals from Dav Carroll that display an immense amount of dexterity and variety. Combined with variations of acoustic guitars, dissonant riffs, and dramatic breakdowns that head bang rather than slam, creates an impactful beginning without scaring us off to cower behind the sofa.
The record’s titular track has a great juxtaposition, blending cataclysmic screams with light riffs and solos that hold tight to the melodic mantra set forth, which have an air of similarity to European legends Opeth and Cult Of Luna.
Playing between the devil and angel on each shoulder, ‘Prometheus’ pushes the boundaries to both extremes in an initial confrontation of chaotic riffs and screams that’s quickly tempered by a euphoric uplifting of clean vocals and angelic chords. Continuously building between layers of clean instruments and crescendoing in ecstatic fashion, this is certainly a masterful experience in progression.
Closing out proceedings, ‘Polaris’ extends the format and utilises all weaponry available initially in a slow plod that escalates in intensity and speed, with mixtures of black metal and melodic riffs from Ben Sizer and Jack Thorp that display the experimental yet grounded writing style.
While ‘Onirica’ isn’t necessarily ground breaking, the combination of genres and attention to detail is magnificent and displays the amount of time and effort the band has put into releasing their first full-length album.