The members of Bozeman's Arkheron Thodol look like they wandered straight out of a casting call for a Viking movie. As a black metal band, their music is extremely fast and occasionally orchestral. In fact, it's such an athletic style of playing that sometimes it seems mechanically produced.
My own tastes trend a little more toward the riffier, doomier end of the metal spectrum, but I have a lot of respect for a band that's made such an investment into honing this specific, intense sound and such a berserker metal look. Heavy, pagan metal from a Montana town known for wealth, Republicans and alpine skiing is a fascinating phenomenon in itself.
Oneirionot, the group's new two-song EP, clocks in at just under 20 minutes. Both songs are pretty epic affairs, each with a requisite quiet intro giving way to increasingly intense, high-speed, atmospheric black metal. Arkheron Thodol makes good use of melody and has more tricks up its sleeve than many of its peers. The production values are high and the fretboard and drum calisthenics alone make it worth a listen, regardless of any preconceptions you may have about the genre.
Arkheron Thodol plays the VFW Fri., Jan. 6, along with Shramana, Fortress and Raziel. $5.