Review: Arête – Hymnal

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Label: The Fear and The Void Recordings

Whilst metal, as a genre,  may largely be thought of in terms of aggression, volume, and speed (doom excepted), the genre also has vast scope for music that is atmospheric and captivating. This is, in itself, no great surprise (as the existence of atmospheric black metal proves, arguably the most popular black metal sub-genre of our times). Yet sometimes, an album can come along that blindsides you with just how masterfully it wields those aspects, conjuring up a dreamscape from a foundation of blasts and tremolo-picking riffs. The debut demo from Arête (who contain members of bands such as Twilight Fauna, Slaves BC, and Evergreen Refuge) impressed me just over two years ago, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting release of Hymnal, their first full-length. Adding traditional folk elements to the core atmospheric black metal sound, theirs is music of belonging; of searching for a place to call your own; ultimately, of home.

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Album of the Day Recap: 10/09/18 – 15/09/18

Five days, five… well, actually four records and one song (but what a song!), this week took in grinding powerviolence; atmospheric folk/black metal; forward-thinking, technical black/death metal; and the return of heavy metal legends. Enjoy!

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Album of the Day: Twilight Fauna – Fire of the Spirit

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Label: Ravenwood Recordings / Fragile Branch Recordings

I’ve recently found myself wanting the audio equivalent of returning home after a long week travelling for work; of a sense of familiarity and belonging, after an extended period of isolation and disconnect. Fire of the Spirit has been meeting that need perfectly, with Twilight Fauna‘s brand of black metal and traditional folk producing a warm, all-encompassing atmosphere that is remarkably refreshing for the soul.

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2017 Favourites – Part II

Following on from the first ten of my A-Z 2017 favourites, here is the second part. As the title says, this is my favourites – not necessarily the best records of the year, but the ones I enjoy or connected with the most. Feel free to tell me what I missed, why I’m wrong, or whatever else. There’s only so many hours in the day, and not all of them can be spent listening to records, sadly.

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2016 Favourites – Part II

Following on from Part I, which can be read here, here is the second installment of my favourite releases from this year; still in alphabetical order, and still full of awesome, wonderfully diverse music. The top five will follow soon, along with a few other reflections on the past year. But in the meantime, enjoy!

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Twilight Fauna – Fire Of The Spirit

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Label: Ravenwood Recordings / Fragile Branch Recordings

There’s no point getting hung up on genres. As useful as they can be, they’re really just arbitrary tags, with very little agreement on what actually defines a particular genre. This is especially true of the broad church that is black metal. As such, whether we class Twilight Fauna as black metal or not really shouldn’t matter. There are arguments to be made either way; the music of the one-man act is certainly heavy on haunting, lonely atmospheres which are a key part of black metal. But at the same time, the folk influence on Twilight Fauna’s music is readily apparent, and never more so than on Fire Of The Spirit. The six tracks on the album are ethereal constructs, built more on atmosphere than anything solid, and anyone who associates black metal with violence and noise may well be left disappointed. But those of us who look to the genre to provide something deeper, something that goes beyond mere music, will not be left wanting. This is an album where atmosphere is king; and what a powerful atmosphere it creates.

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