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Alder Glade - Spine of the World

Alder Glade
Spine of the World
by Clarissa "Wulf" Wright at 15 January 2018, 8:52 AM

On December 1st 2017, ALDER GLADE released “Spine of the World”. This one-man atmospheric folk/black metal project hails from Brisbane in Australia. “Spine of the World” is the first official full length release from the project, said to interlock melodies and black metal shadows together.

The first track is named after the album title - “Spine of the World”, which has a relatively slow speed, droopy feel to it. Three quarters through, cymbal chimes act like a steady pendulum. Guitars progress through their chord changes slowly, as raspy harsh vocals fill the background with grim vibrations. For a moment, acoustic guitar takes the chord sequences forward, before electronic guitars overlap. Empowering drums and vocal rasps, build the song up, before it fades out with acoustics a final time.

“Lord of the Lakes” begins with a flute, which made me envision a bard at the entrance of a door, which opens into a whirlpool of black metal distortion. After about 2 minutes, clean vocals sing away in the background, sounding as if it were a group chant, reminding me of some of AGALLOCH’s elements. A muted interlude of acoustic guitars and percussion make space, before electric guitars sequentially play an interweaving riff, coupled with distorted flashes of guitar chords that progress it further. Drums speedily blast beat, with fast tom fills, rusty sounding tremolo guitars and airy vocals.

“Wheel of Stars” begins in real ambience, taking us into the astral void of the night sky. Distorted guitar riffs beautifully resonate with the sustained metallic drone permeating the sound. Ride cymbals mark a change into a new guitar riff, sounding slightly ‘off’ and mysterious. Punchy drum and guitar strums break up the flow, opening into dark sustained guitar melodies, while an underlying, subtle drone somehow continues ringing on under the surface. All sounds fade out (particularly the vocals), as drums cease, leaving a space for the guitar distortion to fade out and echo out. Although “Wheel of Stars” was one of the more ambient tracks on the album, I think it also had a great power and flow to it - which made this song my personal favorite.

The last track on the album “Beltane” starts with a slow, moody deep acoustic guitar, with mourning clean vocal vowels. Abruptly, sounds of blackened distortion paint over the picture with a thick black brush, glazed with raspy, emotional vocals. At over 12 minutes long, it rounds off the release with this lengthy performance of varied transitions and intense expressions of dread, closing with a perfectly concluding chord.

I find the spirit of ALDER GLADE’s music to seep out naturally, combining elements of black metal and folk music in a raw, authentic way, perhaps influenced by Australia’s nature. In the album “Spine of the World”, each song sounds unique, with its own mood. Vocals are not put forward in the lime light, such as in other black metal style projects, though sink into the blackened backdrop. I’d be keen to hear how ALDER GLADE progresses their sound further, fluently expressing the dark spirit beaming out from the multi-instrumentalist, Drøüyn.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Spine of the World
2. Lord of the Lakes
3. Sun Ritual
4. Kingdom Aflame
5. Wheel of Stars
6. Beltane 
Lineup:
Drøüyn - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard & Programming
Record Label: Northern Silence Productions
     


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