Windfaerer – Alma Review

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.

Release date: September 3, 2018. Label: Avantgarde.
“Becoming” opens with a seriously intense blasting pace and a squealing duet between tremolo guitar and electric violin. The martial drumming and string trio halfway through are strongly reminiscent of Saor’s Aura. The vocals throughout the album are a desperate sort of bellow, but with some serious power and conviction behind them, which is a nice contrast from the distant and washed-out vocals often favored by similar bands. Elsewhere, “Skybound” culminates in a simple but rousingly triumphant string-backed cadence that sounds plucked from Dimmu Borgir’s “Puritanical Misanthropic Euphoria” before feinting back to the song’s principal theme.

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.

Posted by Dan Obstkrieg

Happily committed to the foolish pursuit of words about sounds. Not actually a dinosaur.

  1. Out of curiosity, how do you guys decide what gets a brief “Fast Rites” review and what gets a standard review?

    Reply

    1. Generally speaking, it’s reserved for EPs and stuff that fell through the cracks that we still feel strongly about covering.

      Reply

  2. Of course, a Fast Rites review from Dan is basically the length of most folks’ full reviews. And a full review from Dan is War and Peace.

    Reply

    1. Hi, Zach.

      Reply

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