Resonance - Oryad - Nattverd - TIR - Kre’u
Oryad – Sacred and Profane 9/10
Oryad let their intentions known as a musical force with their debut release ‘’ Hymns of Exile & Decay’’ in 2021. the outfit from the Appalachians and Rocky Mountains in the USA has delivered a masterwork with their second album, Sacred and Profane.
Oryad’s music is as undefinable as it is immediate, visceral, and incredibly emotional. This is pure artistic freedom that is not bound by genres or pre-conceived notions. Led by the simply incredibly soprano vocals of Moira Murphy, Sacred and Profane is able to nimbly touch upon many varied styles all in celebration of the ritual. From the multi-octave classical delivery to pure blast beats on the simply excellent and powerful ‘’Éve’’, the achingly stunning introspective interpretation of ‘’Wayfaring Stranger’’ and then back to the heavy and industrial inflected rhythms of ‘’Scorched Earth’’
“Through the Veil “is simply a tour de force of vocal prowess, the piano and arrangement building towards an epic crescendo, whilst “Slice of Time” combines the metal along with powerful arrangements and a sense of urgency that demands your attention. From the jazz-infused ‘’Alchemy”’ it is the quieter moments of bookends ‘’The Path Part I and The Path Part II’’ that linger long in the memory, a feeling, something intangible yet as real as a lover’s breath, beautiful and haunting a gentle breeze that stirs the trees in the forest…
Sacred and Profane is not just progressive, gothic or doom, it is a sonic journey tinged with a deep connection to nature and reality. The vocals cannot be overstated enough, yet they are also so musically inspired that each track is a surprise yet coherent and thematic able to conjure dreams and moments of brilliance. A celebration of hope, love, and creation.
Nattverd – I Helvetes Forakt
A project that has been lurking in the underground of Bergen, Norway, since the late 1990s, Nattverd unleashed’’ Vi vet god Er En Løgner’’ in 2017. Their music is tough brutal pure black metal that is at times as serene as it is cold and desolate.
One listens to the opening track ‘’Det Stormer I Norge’ on this, their fourth release it is immediate, cold, unforgiving and incredibly bleak. Pure northern darkness is pure to its roots, yet the bridge is a moment of calm in the storm, a perfect piece of solitude before further chaos ensues. ‘’ Vandring I Elver Au Blod’’ is a harsh reminder that extreme music takes its roots from pure metal. The riff is a mighty beast before that begins the descent into madness and isolation and then returns with another riff that is instantly memorable, sitting above the mayhem, a lure into the slower passages that are incredibly heavy, and the double kick that closes the track demands a physical reaction.
Nattverd doesn’t just excel in the ritual of true Norwegian black metal. They also have a firm grip on dynamics and touches of melody that elevate it above others. Ormr’s vocals are scathing and vitriolic but never one dimensional and able to move with the time changes that elevate I Helvetes Forakt from a simple bludgeon and an ode to the past. From the classic savagery of ‘’ En Poesende Eim I Vinden’ to the more nuanced yet no less extreme ‘’ Oeyne I Natten’’ their power and intensity are inherent in the music, not the speed in which it is delivered. ‘’ Forbannet Vaere’ is simply black metal excellence.
‘’I Helvetes Forakt’’ is the record for the purists of true black metal and also for those wanting more, it is distinct and inhospitable, yet it is not bound by simple notions associated with the genre. Alluring as it is cold and desolate, an unforgettable journey riddled with moments of greatness.
Tir – Awaiting The Dawn 9/10
Australian-based solo entity Tir follow up the highly regarded ‘Urd Skuld Verdandi’ album with the new ‘Awaiting The Dawn’ that furthers ideas, soundscapes and deeply personal concepts.
The fifth full-length from Oytun Bektaş is a profoundly philosophical introspective journey that is perfectly suited to the dark folk epic nature of the music, the roots of dungeon synth are still there, but the acoustic elements bring forth honesty and a tangibility that adds incredible weight to the art. The medieval inotations create a sense of history and depth. “The path of the Dandelion Seed” and its evocative refrain feels an intimate conversation with a friend, whilst “C’Est La Fin (Part I)” is hauntingly beautiful. It’s the space between the notes that conjures images and emotions whilst the choir-esque vocals elevate it above the trees to create a floating intangible sense of mystery .”Where Shadows Dance’ is all too brief and is the counterpoint to the epic ‘’In the Essence of Dying’’ which is thoughtful, respectful and tinged with the sombre tones of regret and longing. My personal highlight is the achingly beautiful “Farewell Ballad “that is stirring, its strings and keys allowing it to enter your subconscious and take root there. Its gentleness speaks volumes that is accompanied by the equally eloquent ‘’An Unspoken Lament”. That is evocative and deeply personal.
‘Awaiting The Dawn’ is an album of enormous thought and depth where each note is struck with such purpose and dignity. Philosophical, introspective, yet also uplifting it is a deeply dense, rewarding experience that is restrained, elegantly crafted and deeply moving.
KRE’U – Kre’u 8.5/10
Barbagia (Inner Sardinia) based black metal band trio KRE’U release their debut album in honour of the bandits and mighty outlaws of their homeland.
Kre’u’s inotation of black metal is unique that is heavily influenced by their musical traditions. From the spoken tirade to the haunting invocation that is ‘’Dae Una Losa Ismentigada,’’ it relies purely on atmosphere and quiet menace to build its presence. The mastermind of Ignazio Cuga, Kre’u use the strong tenor chants that are tough and authentic, they do not rely on the typical black metal vocal troupes to deliver its message . The European black metal influence does make itself apparent on the darkened ‘’Nottùrnu’’ the ever-present lurking bass line pushes the tremolo picking forward and it a marching warlike tempo designed to confront the senses along with the toughened vocals and some unique throat singing that feels integral to the track.
‘’ A Sos Antigos” with its deepened bass vocals, the profane tenore and nugoresu styles used with polyphonic singing create the ritual. It lures the listener in and awaits what is happening next; it’s an original juxtaposition of the cold, bleak black metal combined with the rich, warm vocal timbres. ‘’ Sa Morte ‘E Su Pastore’’ is another mid-paced assault that becomes downright speed. The dark metal is a cold hand on the shoulder and a warm breath of annihilation and war in the ear.
KRE^U is astonishing in its morphing of traditional and modern and needs to be praised for its original stance. Musically this is pure second-wave black metal that is dragged back into the dark ages; its aggressive, bleak and utterly defiant.