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Angmaer - Towards Darkness' Paradise Award winner

Towards Darkness' Paradise
by Danny Sanderson at 12 May 2015, 10:24 PM

Over the past couple of years or so, Black Metal has slowly but surely become the most popular, or at least the most represented, musical form within the UK underground Metal scene. Out of the most unlikely places, places that have long been overlooked and ignored for decades, have come some genuinely great bands creating some of the best Black Metal to hit the scene perhaps since the heyday of the genre in mid-nineties Scandinavia. Regardless of personal opinion, I think that most people would agree that the Black Metal scene over here is perhaps at its absolute strongest in a long time. One of the bands that are leading the charge on a national scale is Wolverhampton's ANGMAER, a one man band that has garnered an impressive reputation for producing awesome, raw and catchy Black Metal since its formation just two years ago. ANGMAER's latest offering, and first full length, "Towards Darkness' Paradise", might just be a modern Black Metal classic in the making, and the first of many great releases to come from this band.

The albums opening, titular track, is a short piece of instrumental music, complete with a thick, foreboding atmosphere that really sets the overall tone for the seven songs that are to follow it. The first proper song on the album, "Hvitulen" is a sharp, raw edge to it, and is extremely evocative in places of the sort of cold, dark and evil sounding Black Metal that many have grown to love, without falling into the realms of parody. The imaginative riffs cut through to the surface of the music, backed by powerful drumming and topped with the tight, rasping snarl of the vocals over the top, producing a really good, solid track. It's the longest song on the record by a mile, clocking in at just shy of fourteen minutes long. Near the middle of the track, the storm of the music momentarily breaks, and we're treated to some more ambient, heavily atmospheric parts, complete with the sounds of funereal rain backed by a cool, clean guitar line. This doesn't last long, as the song picks up on its original, heavier thread. With all honesty, the first part and the second, which comes after the aforementioned atmospheric piece, could be entirely separate songs in their own right, with the section in the middle acting as an instrumental opening motif for the second half, and yet they seem to blend seamlessly together and work extremely well as a single entity. By the end of this song, the album's already left its mark, and cemented itself as a modern classic. "Necromantic Summoning" is a very solid, decent Black Metal song that contains plenty of hooks, speed and a vitriolic, vicious overall ambience to it. It's just about raw enough to keep the interest of Black Metal purists whilst at the same time not having a production quality that makes it almost un-listenable. "Den Guddommeligens Rikets" has, at least to my ears, a very strong Depressive Black Metal influence, with slow, dirge-like riffs and the blood-curdling, acidic rasp of the vocals that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. This funeral march is immediately followed by the blistering fury of "Helvete", which sounds so tight and well done that it stands as one of the better songs on this record. It's a short, sharp shock that, like the following track "Astaroth", is over fairly quickly, but not without leaving a lasting effect on you. "Astaroth" is very much the same, pouncing out of the speakers and hitting you life a tonne of bricks. For almost all of the three minutes this track lasts, it seems to be going so fast and so furiously that it can only be described as ferocious and chaotic. "The Rebirth of Pagan Lands" likewise has a lot of speed-driven guitar lines and drumming, but there are also slower, melody-based parts that work incredibly well as part of this track. This song is practically overflowing with different riffs, hooks and elements that all mesh together seamlessly and complement each other. And then we come to the final track on the album, "Transcending"; it consists of an interesting clean guitar line that is very evocative of "Hammerheart" era BATHORY in many ways, without being carbon copy of the bands work and sound. It definitely draws on that for inspiration and ANGMAER makes it his own. This song is completed with an atmosphere and ambience that fills out the sound and makes this track stand out from all the others. It's like a blissful calm after a long and treacherous storm, and it's the perfect ending to the record.

This is an album that showcases the sound of a band that could very well take the scene by storm in years to come. It's firmly rooted in old, raw Black Metal, but at the same time it's an example of a band carving out its own niche within a genre with dozens, probably hundreds, of bands that are putting out material that sticks to a strict, rigid formula. This has something else about it that makes it more than just another Black Metal record. It's amazing, and it's really gotten me excited for the upcoming split with the equally brilliant GOATCHRIST. Watch this space; whatever comes next for ANGMAER, it's most likely going to be immense.

4 Star Rating

1. Towards Darkness' Paradise
2. Hvitulven
3. Necromantic Summoning
4. Den Guddommeligens Riket
5. Helvete
6. Astaroth
7. The Rebirth of Pagan Lands
8. Transcending
Angmaer - Everything
Record Label: UKEM Records


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