The influence of nature and earth on black metal has become somewhat more of a recurrent theme in recent times. Some of black metal’s current champions such as Drudkh, Wodensthrone and Winterfylleth have embraced inspiration from such landscapes, in some degrees from their own locales rather than necessarily the stereotypical Satanic lyrical content of the genre’s forebears; also offering a more atmospheric approach. On this split, From Moonrise To Moonset (Blackwood), we see the contributions from two upcoming UK bands of such an ilk, with some variation in style and result.
The first half sees contributions from Torver, beginning with an ominous, gradually building introduction track, complete with wolf howling and strings, setting the tone and expectations quite high. The following tracks ‘Naked Moonrise’ and ‘Lunar Ritual’ are both bold examples of forward thinking Black Metal, alternating in pace between a slow crawl to more uptempo, and combining typical shrills with an eerie chant like drawl. A lot of positives to take but sadly it becomes unstuck by a thin production which buries the vocals far into the mix and kills some of its atmospheric air.
In the production stakes Arcane North’s half fairs a whole lot better and thus has a much more encapsulating tone to it. Vocally this is on much more familiar territory but elsewhere it still holds an ambitious streak, but is simultaneously familiar for the less au fait with the genre. As a result it is much more immediate and is certainly the more recommended part.
Neither band gives a complete or perfect offering, but both bands show a lot of potential, if not very much to differentiate in an arena that is starting to get a lot more crowded.
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