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martedì 11 dicembre 2018

Windfaerer - Alma

#FOR FANS OF: Epic/Folk Black
The folk black metal scene has flourished a lot in recent times, not only in Europe, where due to the long and rich history of the continent makes it quite usual. But even in many other parts of the world, sometimes in countries with a long history and in others with a shorter period of existence. US is one of the most obvious cases where we can find some awesome bands like Ifing or Duskmourn, among many others. Sometimes the lyrics deal with Nordic mythology or American history and politics, like Panopticon does. However, I think this is the first time I find a US-based project which sings about Iberian history as Windfaerer does. As far as I know, some members have Portuguese roots, so this could explain this interest which makes Windfaerer’s music even more intriguing for me.

The band was originally created in 2006, so these guys are not newcomers. Some of the members, such as the two guitarists, have extensive experience in the extreme metal scene, though they have found time to release, prior to this new album, two full lengths, an EP and a split album. 'Alma', the name of this new creation, is the third album and as it usually happens, the third attempt is the one that definitively marks if the band's career can have a long-term future. Conscious of this or not, the band has put a lot of effort on this album, and the first positive sign comes before you even listen to the album. This is because for this album they have signed with the Italian label Avantgarde Records, which I personally rate very highly due to the consistent quality of the bands on their roster.

'Alma' starts with the powerful and immense “Dawn of Phantom Light”. The track begins with a short atmospheric intro, interrupted by some great guitars which form a solid wall, full of epic and strength sounds. Vocals are on par with some great screams, accompanied by occasional arrangements in the background, which enhance the greatness of the track. Musically speaking, the song is not repetitive, with occasional ups and downs in the pace and including a calm atmospheric short section. Another standing out element are the guitar solos, which are more elaborate and complex than in many similar albums. The album opener is a definitively good summary of what we will find in this record. Moreover, as we can hear in songs like “Becoming”, the band successfully adds some classical instruments, like the violin or cello, which sound great and give a definitive folkish touch to the songs. They even fit the music in the more straightforward tracks like “Journey”, where they create a quite unique melody, making the song more interesting. The album ends in style with the excellent “Under the Sign of Sol”, which shares many characteristics with the album opener, not only in terms of quality, but as it contains all of the elements which make this album a very pleasurable listen.

In conclusion, Windfaerer did a step forward with 'Alma', which is a very well-balanced album. The production sounds excellent, clean and powerful. All the elements are very well done, though I would highlight the excellent guitars, which sound convincing and very tastefully composed. As previously mentioned, another remarkable point are the arrangements, especially those including the classical instruments, which embellish the composition and the album itself. (Alain González Artola)

(Avantgarde Music - 2018)
Score: 85