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Artach - Chronicles of a Black Winter

Chronicles of a Black Winter
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 20 April 2020, 1:02 AM

ARTACH is a two-man Black Metal band from Canada; “Chronicles of a Black Winter,” is their full-length debut album. Like the album’s title may suggest, this album’s atmosphere is as cold and bleak as the North winds.  The album is very riff focused with modern production, but it isn’t too clean—I actually really enjoyed the production.  Vocally, it is very unique and just the same ol endless blackened screams.  Vocalist Fiochmhar sounds like he is gurgling vomit—don’t take that the wrong way, I mean that as a compliment.  Actually, the vocals have a bit of a punk vibe to it too like some of DARKTHRONE’s later stuff or MOTORHEAD.

The first track, “Eternal Black Winter,” opens up fast and furious…and gets even faster but the latter half of the song is a bit more melodic. I appreciate that it isn’t non-stop speed, a trap that many Black Metal bands get stuck in but it also comes off a little unfocused. “Leviathan…Rise,” has a really cool melodic riff in the beginning and the drums are crisp and back up the song well enough.  This song has a totally different feel than the one before it and is much slower paced but it does run out of steam towards the end—again, I think there needs to be more of a focused effort because I didn’t hear any real reason for the song to go on almost seven minutes.

The band often incorporates more of a traditional Metal vibe, such as on “Frozen In Time,” which doesn’t stray too far from what IRON MAIDEN established on their first couple albums.  I could had done without the multi layered vocals as it kind of pulled me out of the song a bit. But I did appreciate the song’s overall approach. The band returns to a black metal sound on “When The Forest Ends,” which, again, I feel was a bit too long but the song is worth a listen especially the slick guitar solo around four and a half minutes into it.

They are obviously a young band so I think they have room to grow but since they are already going the right direction, they can only go up from here.  At times, it felt like the album didn’t have any real direction.  Is this black metal?  Or does it not want to incorporate more traditional elements. I’m not saying those elements shouldn’t exist together, but they should be mixed better.  I enjoyed the album, but I suspect future releases will earn higher scores. I am eagerly anticipating what they do in the future.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Eternal Black Winter
2. Permafrost
3. Leviathan…Rise
4. Ice Raven
5. Frozen In Time
6. The Fallen Ones
7. When The Forest Ends
8. Fire & Ice
Fiochmhar – Drums, Vocals
Sruthan – Guitars, Bass
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 07 February 2023

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