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Black Royal – Firebride Award winner

Black Royal
by Will Travers at 10 February 2020, 2:29 AM

In the dark seemingly eternal winters of Northern Europe we come to countries that are synonymous with Heavy Metal. When one thinks of extreme variations on Heavy Metal you cannot help but to think of the Nordic countries that quite often champion many different subgenres. Bands like AMON AMARTH, BLOODBATH, ENSIFERUM and WATAIN all hail from the deep snow covered forests. It just seems that there is something in the air. So, with what appears to be a pedigree area for Heavy Metal, I am proud to present to you BLACK ROYAL, a Death ‘n’ Sludge group from Tampere Finland with their album “Firebride”

First, we see the artwork, very simplistic in its nature. An image that appears to have been done with water colour depicting a scene of death and destruction. It is striking, but I’m not sure it would jump out to me in a music store.

When the album opens with “Coven” we are treated to a gentle, mesmerizing introduction. With clean guitars, orchestral backing which entices you in and lulls you into a false sense of security as you relax … Well that is abruptly ended as the full force of BLACK ROYAL kicks in and Riku’s vocals rip through your headphones to show you just what it is you are ACTUALLY listening to. The orchestral overtones do have a re appearance later in the track, to great effect, in fact it reminds me of an old school western film and a ‘pistols at dawn’ sort of scene.

With “Pagan Saviour” we are treated to a heavy, sludgy opening. But it is given a lighter effect as Toni creates a motif over the top of these deep chords that just lighten them ever so slightly. Now, the overall effect of this song, I feel, is very true to its name. I can almost see the ritual in the woods, shadowy spectres and druids dancing around the flames during a ritual. This would have to be my pick of the album.

Next, I will bring your attention to “Gods of War” with Jukka creating a pounding marching (see what I did there?..) beat we are subjected to a very classic Death Metal track. Brutal guitar lines, a ruthless vocal track which is then accented by some very pleasant and well placed clean breaks that allow the listener to catch their breath as they are again attacked by this seemingly untiring album.

Finally, I will bring you to the album’s namesake “Firebride”. It is rough, it is heavy and it is everything you could want it to be. It has continued to build on the rest of the tracks, developing its sound during the run up and creates again another very memorable track that will only get better every time that I listen to it.

Overall I feel that BLACK ROYAL has created an excellent album in the form of “Firebride” it is a stellar example of Death Metal and will mature over time to be a classic on the scene I am sure. Now I think some research needs to be done in Tampere to find out just what they are feeding their children there to produce such fine Heavy Metal acts….

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Coven
2. Hail Yourself
3. Pagan Saviour
4. All Them Witches
5. 313
6. Gods Of War
7. The Reverend
8. Firebride
9. For Dead Travel Fast
Riku – Vocals
Toni – Guitars and backing vocals
Pete – Bass and backing vocals
Jukka - Drums
Record Label: Suicide Records


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Edited 27 March 2023

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