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Sometimes, (read: often) my brain plays tricks on me. For instance, there’s a place I drive by nearly every week that has a sandwich board sign out front of it that says “Memory Care.” It’s a place that cares for senility. I don’t know how many times I drove by before realizing that it didn't read "Memory Café". The Palms release was implanted in my head as Psalms. IO’s Pitch Guidelines for writers will always be the Bitch Guidelines. Even after I realize my error and correct myself, I still can’t shake my initial images and mnemonic associations.

Germany's Fyrnask, I felt, should be Fyrnmask, a green man wearing a mask of ferns. It’s apt, but once I actually listened to the record, Eldir Nótt, which comes out on September 23, I realized that it’s not the life-affirming green man side of nature that’s most prevalent here. It’s the vultures picking apart a dead fawn side of nature, and that’s just fine with me.

Fyrnask came to life in winter 2008, with the first demo Fjǫrvar ok benjar coming two years later. In 2011, lone mainman Fyrnd released Fyrnask's Bluostar. Eldir Nótt is the second full length, and of what I hope is many more.

I’m not here to define what black metal is or is not, I only care what it is to me, and it’s an emotional reaction to society and nature, an identification with or an alienation from. It can be about, or of, nature, whether wild or tamed. It’s shadowy and undefinable. Defiant. Unpredictable.

Fellow IO writer Joseph Schafer posted on our Facebook group page that he put this Fyrnmask promo on at work, and when the Gregorian chants end and the black metal begins, he said, a massive breeze blew through his office and kicked up everyone's loose papers into a white dead-tree blizzard. That’s what I want when I put on music like this. I didn’t get quite the same physical sign, but I did get feel a sense of trees blowing over, bodies slowly decaying, stone turning into dust, and it would continue happening long after I bid this world adieu. This is what I love about this Fyrnask, – it’s visual. Listen and see for yourself.

Vanessa Salvia

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