Review: Windfaerer – Alma

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Two years ago, I was looking over the lineup for the now-defunct Pocono Pagan and Folk Metal Fest. As I looked over where each band was from I couldn’t help but notice Windfaerer, a pagan black metal from New Jersey. After finding their Bandcamp I decided that their style of black metal was for me. Now in 2018, the band has signed with Avantgarde Music and is getting ready to release Alma, there third full length release. Will Windfaerer continue to impress with their folky style of black metal? Let’s find out.

Thankfully the album doesn’t begin with the bane of these types of records, the infmaous intro track. “Dawn of Phantom Light” is great introduction into Windfaerer’s sound, as the use of violin alongside punishing blastbeats contrasts really well, without having the violin get lost in a wall of sound. For this song, the violin is used in lieu of an additional guitar player which allows it to really standout on the track. Following up “Dawn of Phantom Light” is “Becoming”, which reminds me of older Enslaved due to its use of punishing blastbeats which give way to a more gallopy style of guitar and drum playing. In this song, violin is used more as an accent. What I love the most about this song are the three distinct shifts in sound which makes for an enthralling listen.

“Skybound” doesn’t differ too much from the previous tracks, however what I find interesting on this track and two previous ones is the vocals. The vocals don’t always stand tall above the music, some might view this as an issue, but making the vocals less prominent in the mix allows a more subtle texture the songs. The next track “Rites of Emptiness” has a long, slow buildup which is fairly atmospheric before reaching its crescendo about 1:18 into the song; from then onward the song adaopts a more straightforward black metal approach.

With track six, “O Alem” the listener is presented with a nearly three minute long atmospheric offering, which seems kind of misplaced on Alma – it doesn’t note a major shift in the music on the album, but yet this track is here. Following on is the appropriately named “Journey”, sadly though, this journey is over far too quickly.

“Awakening” is a short simple track which gives the album additional atmosphere, while also allowing the band’s violinist some extra time to showcase his abilities, and still adding something to the album. Closing out Alma is “Under the Sign of Sol”, which is the perfect song to end this album. While at times it is pretty heavy, the song is also quite beautiful at times, with guitar, drums, violin and vocals working in perfect harmony to close out a fine album.

Overall, Windfaerer’s Alma is a delightful listen. With each release the band continues to grow and to establish their style of black metal. While this album is not perfect, it is easily a very listenable album and I know I will continue to comeback to this album for a while to come.

Alma receives 4 out of 5 flaming Toilets ov Hell.

You can check out Windfaerer by visiting their Facebook page or by heading over to their Bandcamp where you can purchase or stream their music.


 

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