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Castle of the Winds – Until Segontium Burns

Castle of the Winds
Until Segontium Burns
by Huw Eggington at 21 March 2022, 6:10 AM

Second wave of Black Metal worship from The North West of England manages to feel familiar and fresh at the same time. Merseyside black metalers CASTLE OF THE WINDS certainly owe a lot to the like of EMPEROR and IMMORTAL for their debut album “Until Segontium Burns” frosty and ferocious riffing and vocals blended with dreamy and epic synths, that whilst are  obviously paying homage to their heroes still manage to attack these songs in a way that feels totally theirs.

Atmosphere is the vital component, the keys and synths underpinning everything, giving an air of gloomy mystery that chills to the bone.  “A Vision of Segontium Burning” is a perfect example of this, the keys building up a thick almost impenetrable mist broken only by the icy tremolo riffing flowing underneath it all, creating a tension which hits to the very centre of your soul. The crafting of the songs across the board is of an incredibly high quality, everything builds and builds but instead of an instantaneous release it all somewhat fizzles out. This however is not to the detriment of the record at all, it may not let it all out in a blast of fire but the release is nonetheless incredibly satisfying.

The vocals on this are nothing short of incredible, sure it’s completely aping the style of ABBATH but it serves these song so well it doesn’t matter, the necro grunt adding low end into a sound that is otherwise devoid of it, treating the voice like an instrument here works so well. Album opener “Through Deep Valleys And Vast Waters” showcases  this perfectly the vocals moving passages along at an alarming rate, adding to the character brought by the keys juxtaposing this merciless wraith that is the instrumentation, stalking along through listeners ears.

There is a lot going on all over this album even with the above remaining true about the other instruments often taken a back seat to keep everything thundering along, but there’s some really interesting passages, a small lift and alteration in the riff during the verse of “Beholding The Might Of The Carneddau” or the way in which the riffing just slightly picks up and adds an unsettling tremolo section in a higher pitch than everything else for just a few seconds, it’s arrival is easy to miss, it’s life short lived and yet it adds so much into the build of the atmosphere the song would suffer without it.

For anyone who likes dramatic leanings, creepy symphonic black metal this album is an absolute must, and is one of the best of its kind in years.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Through Deep Valleys And Vast Waters
2. A Vision Of Segontium Burning
3. To Where Kings Lie Buried Beneath The Cairns
4. Crimson Straights
5. Beholding The Might Of The Carneddau
6. Summon A Dragon, Slay The Eagle
7. Until A Forest Of Spears Has Grown Within This Pass
8. Yr Hen Ogledd (The Old North)
Vrenhin: Vocals
Angwyn: Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Record Label: Independent


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