FER DE LANCE – “The Hyperborean”

By Colonel Angus

Chicago has brought us some cool metal acts in the past like ZOETROPE and TROUBLE but I haven’t come across anything unique for a while; until now. FER DE LANCE came onto the scene in 2020 a few years after I moved from Chi-town and although I don’t think they were part of the live local circuit, they certainly would have definitely appeared on my radar. Their promo sheet likens them to the Viking metal era of BATHORY and they are not wrong but they are so much more. Sure, I hear the usual NWOBHM influences but I also hear sections that remind me of early OPETH and even some SAVATAGE. It is a unique mix for sure and one that rises above the usual metal fare that is being produced. I do like all types of music but I especially like bands that can take their influences and mold into something that stands out as their own and not just a regurgitation of the bands that inspired them.

“The Hyperborean” is a concept record but each track lives on its own so it can be enjoyed in order but, if you’re like me, you can skip around and listen to the songs separately. Aside from the opening intro “Aurora Borealis”, not one of the tunes clocks in at less than 7 minutes. And while these mini epics are longer, they go by quickly as each track has many textures and soundscapes to keep the listener enthralled. One of the elements that sets FER DE LANCE apart is their use of acoustic guitar to bring a whole new dimension to the songs. On tracks “The Mariner”, “Ad Bestias” and “Sirens”, the acoustic guitar is given a section to be spotlighted but on “Northern Skies” it is more interwoven into the tune giving it a slight medieval feel. Elsewhere you get a thunderous metal of “Arctic Winds” which is the most straightforward of all the songs “The Hyperborean”. Saving the best for last, the title track ends the record in truly epic fashion. It starts off with some great acoustic guitar work and slowly builds into a chugging epic that ends with the sound of ocean waves bookending this tale. There is so much going on musically that you find yourself enjoying this album more with each spin. I also like the production as it has an old school feel which gives it more of an organic vibe adding to the overall enjoyment.

FER DE LANCE recorded “The Hyperborean” as a four piece with MP handling the guitar and vocals and Mandy Martillo adding the essential acoustic guitars and vocals. I say essential because the acoustic guitars add so much to the entire sound making their music stand out in this genre. Rusty (bass) and Scud (drums) round off the musos on the disk. They have since added additional guitarist J. Geist to reproduce their material in their live performances and I hope they decide to tour the states. Their music is epic just cranked out of my speakers, I can’t imagine how thunderous the material will sound in a live setting. This is one album that will definitely be on my playlist for the rest of 2022 and beyond.