De Tenebrarum Principio, 02.07.17
The duo Æra consists of Chilean Ulf Kveldulfsson, possibly residing in Sweden, and American Tzel.
As with all metal on ATMF's sub-label De Tenebrarum Principio, the roots of the music is based on a specific epoch; The emergence and early years of black metal. The band named Æra has nevertheless not taken the name from the Nordic word for “era”, but from the Norse and Icelandic spelling of the word “ære”, meaning “honour”. Of Forsworn Vows is the band's first EP, initially released digitally in February.
The EP presents the band through three songs that reflect the era's “symphonically” leaning black metal, where some bands (to the great despair of some) used an atmospheric veil of synthesizer to create contrasts, melodic hooks and majestic moods.
Melodic tremolo and fast-paced drumming with frequent cymbal usage dart across wooded hills and elongated plateaus, while the synthesizer illuminates the night sky and colourizes it in green and purple like the northern lights. The music, and the fairly sharp vocal that lies a bit in the background, has an otherwise monotonous and calm feel. Well, “calm” for those who like their metal black, anyway.
The interaction creates a dreamy mood through the morning mist, and although Of Forsworn Vows ain't tremen-dously exciting, the 21 minutes with adequate unpolished sound is full of mood whilst feeling rather comfortable. Listen for yourself.
The quintet Wolvenguard from Texas is a new constellation, consisting of people from Vesperian Sorrow, Avarice, Cerebral Desecration and In Oblivion.
To all appearances, this is their very first release, a 13 minutes, three-song EP.
The music they perform is a form of pagan battle metal with elements from viking, black and death, with a very melodic and atmospheric expression.
Elemental Reclamation calls to arms with dramatic ethos. The style is mildly warlike but still mid-paced with a sense of silence before the storm, as when the king curses the enemy for the death of the heir to the throne, and swears revenge. As such, we're not speaking of Bolt Thrower' belligerence, or stand-tall Manowar-pride. Rather than an epic diction that mirrors certain victory, the music has a mood of despair, vindictiveness and melancholy.
Wistfulness and pain are further enhanced in Formless Aeons, which brings gothically embossed death/doom à la “late” Paradise Lost to the war council's table. More low-spirit with undertones of wounded honour found in clean vocals, and hateful glimpses that stir to war through rasping vocals, are to be found in Vangrimst.
The press release recommend Elemental Reclamation to fans of Ex Deo, Immortal, Bathory and Amon Amarth, and I can agree that Wolvenguard is located somewhere in the undertow of this axis of axe and sabre-rattlers. Wolvenguard has nevertheless trampled their own path with well-constructed melodic metal, and these 13 minutes bodes well for the future of Americans who honour their archaic European roots.