Pagan metal. Ever since the infestation of Finntroll, Ensiferum and their ilk the genre, once spearheaded by such pioneers as Primordial and Bathory has become a parody of itself, producing nothing but contempt out of anyone with a modicum of taste. With lyrics building a “Lord of the Rings”-esque vision of a sugar-coated pagan past, with music which can be accurately described as cheesy melodeath with bagpipes, pagan metal was degraded to a cheap sideshow attraction, having as much appeal as a cut-price Renessaince fair.
White Medal, thankfully is a different breed. Being the project of renowned noise/experimental/black metal musician and label owner George Proctor the band, not suprisingly, embodies the D.I.Y. spirit that is the hallmark of the acts associated with Legion Blotan. On a musical level, the early works of Absurd and Bilskirnir could be considered the best paralellels to Guthmers Hahl. The six songs of the album are raw, melancholic, savage epics, given new dimensions by the occasional folkish guitar harmonies, accompanied by howled vocals not unlike Roman Saenko’s (Hate Forest). Solemn, glorious and melancholic, the atmosphere is head and shoulders above the works of the bands elaborated in the introduction. Lyrically, White Medal proudly wears its Yorkshire heritage: besides the use of the regional dialect, the subject matter deals with local history and myth.
Guthmers Hahl is not only a milestone of a pagan black metal album, and a testament to the greatness of the independent, D.I.Y. Spirit. It is also one of the most important British black metal albums, a work that shall stand one day alongside the finest works of Venom and the Meads of Asphodel.