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Fellwarden - Oathbreaker

by Garrett Davis at 07 August 2017, 8:45 PM

Highly-atmospheric Death Metal with almost inaudible vocals. Released in June 2017, “Oathbreaker” is pure Black Metal without any other major genre distinctions…except maybe Pagan Metal, given its apparent focus on the natural world. The music puts you in mind of sprawling hills and bleak forests, with beastial growls dogging your every imagined step, which is great…for awhile.

Atmospheric and chilly, this is an ok EP,  and yet I hoped for something that would set it apart from the competition. After about the third track it felt like I was just hearing more of the same, with no coherent theme or story to tie it together as a concept or any major changes to bring something new to each piece.

I tried to break this album down track-by-track but I honestly just kept finding myself writing the same things and struggling to find fresh synonyms. “Oathbearer” is very atmospheric; it made me think of foggy moors, cemeteries on a grassy hill, old men walking through a forest alone at twilight, and all sorts of old-world Pagan imagery. I’m not certain that FELLWARDEN were aiming for Pagan Black Metal, but I think this is where they landed.

Guardian Unbound” has this almost instant fade-in that honestly made me wonder if I somehow missed part of the track or the actual first song of the EP. Atmospheric and chilly, its a good song yet I hoped for something that would set it apart. “In Death, Valiant” manages to stand out eve so slightly thanks to harsher growls waking up the dreamy softness of the last few tracks. “Wayfarer Eternal” tries to stand out and almost succeeds but it falls back on the same rapid, rhythmic drum beats and foggy acoustic background synths that muddle everything. It is definitely a creative choice but honestly, it just isn't for me

For once, I truly have no idea what the lyrics are on this album. The balance was so far off I honestly tried two seperate pairs of headphones and fiddled with my equalizer settings to hear everything; at the end this didn't really acheive the effect I was hoping for; so I basically gave up on it, returning to my usual settings.

I hate giving out less than positive reviews, feeling that something I don't like somebody else is gonna love and because musicians pour a lot into their work, but at the end of the day, this is about my opinion not fact. So maybe FELLWARDEN is indeed for you, and if so follow the link and maybe someday I'll give them another shot.

Songwriting: 4
Originality: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 3

1 Star Rating

1. Guardian Unbound
2. Sub of Ending
3. In Death, Valiant
4. Wayfarer Eternal
5. A Cairn-Keeper's Lament
6. Sorrowborn
Havenless – Drums
The Water - Vocals, Strings, Synths
Record Label: Eisenwald Tonschmiede Records


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