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Artach - Sworn to Avenge

Sworn to Avenge
by Ricardo Brenes at 15 September 2021, 1:54 PM

It is no surprise that coming out from the foggiest, snowiest, wettest, windiest, and gloomiest capital city in Canada, this two-man band plays Black Metal. Not the usual stuff though, let me paint the picture for you…

The opening track “Tiuteam An Duine” was my first impression, could not honestly feel like it was absolutely Black Metal I was listening to as there were many different elements in it and the vocals were a bit confusing, between the agonizing screams of some Black Metal vocalists and the tortured gargling of Grindcore. Music seemed Old School Thrash/Death Metal more than Black but along the song it had progressive and Post elements in it, so it was all, still a bit of a puzzle to me. At certain times, I could clearly identify a DARKTHRONE or VENOM influence, chaotic and dark, with nice soloing on the last third of the song.

Infused with a much more melodic feeling comes “Ice Throne”, feels like melodic Death Metal, nice riffing, pounding drums and a fast pace, the vocals change perhaps just a bit and carry a bit less agony in them, which I actually like better. There is even an Epic or Pagan feeling to this song. Most songs on this album are rather long, this one would be the one of the shortest, standing at 5:10, most likely due to the faster pace. Nice guitar work.

Shimmer” has a very similar structure and sound to “Titeam An Duine” with niche heavy riffing parts, a track that perhaps shows the most representative side of the band and which also, somehow feels more Black Metal than the rest.

We then land in the “Endless Tundra”, where we’re thrown into the flames for 21 minutes. The track flows nicely, delivering more of their fiery style, so influenced at times by the darker side of 80’s Heavy Metal, still dirty and unpolished, delivered raw into your palate. Halfway through the song there are nice melodic solos end interludes that offer nice crescendos and melodic transitions that denote talent.

Mistress of Black Thorns” is a song that stands out because of the balance between the heavy riffing and the blast beats, being kind of sludgy at times, there is more evil in this song musically speaking.

The album ends with “Winter’s End”, a nice piece that starts with keyboards and spoken words, followed by nice guitar solos and harmonic strings than lead to an atmospheric Black Metal passage with vocals rather in the background, full of suffering.

All in all, this is a rather interesting release, one that stands rather apart from the usual, the common, one that packs a whole bunch of different elements and aspects to look into, feels old school and it feels like a projection into the future as well; it is balanced and epic, it is worth a listen for sure.

Songwriting:  7
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  7

3 Star Rating

1. Tiuteam an Duine
2. Ice Throne
3. Shimmer
4. Endless Tundra
5. Into the Frozen Woodlands
6. She Gathers Leaves
7. Mistress of Black Thorns
8. Winter’s End
Fíochmhar - Vocals, Drums, Keyboards
Sruthán - Guitar, Bass
Record Label: Depressive Illusions Records


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