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Ferndal – Ferndal

by Lauren Fonto at 20 September 2017, 1:28 AM

Here is a band which has combined black metal with the classical elements of the cello and the organ. It’s a combination which sounded very appealing to me, and also like something that would work very well together. Would my expectations be fulfilled?

By the end of the album, I was feeling a little bit restless. Unfortunately, there were passages here and there which overstayed their welcome. While “Arntor, ein Krieger” is one of the shorter tracks on the album, it did drag on somewhat. This is not to say that it’s not a good track – in fact, it stands alone as a good classical piece, with Lestaya’s lively cello passage in the middle making for a pleasant surprise. “Ein später Gast” has the same problem – perhaps it could have been slightly shorter.

Onto the highlights – for me, the standout tracks were “Ferndal” and “In die Freiheit”. The harmonized guitar riffs on “Ferndal” segue nicely from opening track “Ouverture”, and Sorathiel’s vocals have a gritty quality to them, and more than hold their own alongside the strong drum work. The bass sits just right in the mix, and adds an extra layer of texture to the music. The melancholic riff in the guitar harmony is moving, and the tom rolls later on lend a sense of inevitability to the song, as if the protagonist faces an inescapable fate. (Note: I don’t understand German, so I hope I’ll be forgiven if I’ve misinterpreted lyrical themes.) The clean vocals ring out like a bell, with good sustain. An ominous bass riff brings an unexpected storm of blast beats and ferocious riffs, and the cello parts fly.

“In die Freiheit” gets off to a lively start with blast beats and layered counter melodies – the different tempos in the riffs is an interesting touch. There’s also a cool break with prominent toms and cellos, and an uplifting guitar riff. The choir part near the end of the track is beautiful. Finally, “Coda” is a simple, yet beautiful piece of organ music. The softer passages make for an interesting contrast.

As for my expectations, I wasn’t wrong in thinking that the classical elements would work well with black metal. While there’s room for improvement with “Ferndal”, there were numerous enjoyable moments, especially when they involved Lestaya’s great cello parts. I’m looking forward to seeing what FERNDAL do next.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Ouverture
2. Ferndal
3. Ungelebtes Leben
4. Arntor, ein Krieger
5. In die Freiheit
6. Ein später Gast
7. Coda
Sorathiel – Bass, vocals
Lestaya – Cello
Alboîn – Drums
Abarus – Guitars
Sethras – Guitars
Record Label: Einheit Produktionen


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