Fast Rites: because sometimes brevity is fundamental.
Windfaerer succeeds where many other atmospheric black metal bands have lately flopped by never leaving the ferocity of black metal too far behind in favor of overly wispy atmospherics. The album’s sound is full and powerful, nicely rounded out by a robust bass presence that keeps things tethered to an insistent pulse even when the synths and other melodic accompaniments wander into driftier terrain. The electric violin solo on album opener “Dawn of Phantom Light” is particularly effective, as it eschews an easy melancholy approach in favor of a wilder, woolier, less predictable reel.
Alma likely won’t persuade the most crotchety of skeptics out there, but its potent combination of bald aggression and yearning melody sketches a path forward out of the tepid and meandering rut in which so much atmospheric black metal has lately been stuck.