Label: Drakkar Productions
Release date: 09 July 2021
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording
Not being familiar to a band doesn’t mean I can’t be hit hard by their new album. And this is what has happened to me with Elderblood. They were completely strange for me until I started to listen to “Achrony” and I was thrown into a swirl of delightful Symphonic Black Metal. Just… Where do I start with??
Maybe, let’s start introducing the artists, here is the lineup for this album:
Astargh – guitar, bass, vocals & keyboards
Hjadegharn – guitars
Kévin Paradis – drums
And now, let’s talk about the music.
The intro, “Sparks”, is setting what will come after: starting with female chants, adding more elements one by one: a bell chiming, some kind of outbursts, heavy rain falling, the squawk of a raven, an ominous sound in the background approaching more and more until wraps you completely, and then the percussion entering like hammer blows, beating faster and faster until it has total control of the situation and you feel you have no scape… and then, “The Great Fire of Sacrifice” begins. This song is really ferocious, fast and majestic, it gives me great vibes right from the start! Wow… I’m breathless and only 7 minutes have passed!
Talking in general, the whole album maintains a high level of energy from start to finish. Besides its symphonic stuff, which sometimes is subtle in order to give only slightly hints of epicness, and sometimes is bombastic and overwhelming, I must say this album is very intense: drums are relentless, pounding strong and with the drummer showing off his skills – and he has plenty of them! The guitars sound is clear, constantly diving into obscure riffs, some icy cold passages, plenty of tremolo and never eclipsing the other instruments, which is great. And the vocals… Simply awesome! Sometimes I feel a bit clumsy trying to describe how a voice sounds. Well, in “Achrony” there’s pure evil and wrath unleashed, deep raspy sounds emerging from Astargh’s throat, one of the (in my opinion) best Black Metal vocal performances I’ve listened to this year! And lyrics, well, talking about darkness, suffering, death, Antichrist… the kind of evil you would expect in an album like this, isn’t it?
To highlight a few tracks:
“Holy Plague” is simply fantastic, a song where all the elements of the album are doing their best. Perfect use of the symphonic elements, ultra fast attack of guitars and drums that seem to be in a race towards the darkest side of Black Metal, and the raspy and bleak vocals on top of everything. Let me say… in this track, the sound has an effect of grandeur and it increases as the song runs wildly. The end of this track gives me chills. And that’s enough for me!
“Soot” is another fast track, damn!, the double bass pedal is in flames! The way Astargh screams: “Sainthood of fire will purify you. When all burns down, your lord will forgive everything” is pure evil! And the guitar solo in this song is simply brilliant.
“The New Testament” is the closing theme, the instrumental intro gives way to some chants and then a sinister feel follows until the end of it all, with a strong epic feel.
Well… as I really like Symphonic Black Metal stuff, the only thing I would add is that if you enjoy this genre, this is a must listen! 9/10 Sílvia
9/10 Epic Storm
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