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Hornwood Fell - Hornwood Fell

Hornwood Fell
Hornwood Fell
by Abir “Vladimir” Kalai at 26 November 2014, 7:59 PM

Coming from one of the least expected countries when it comes to the true Black Metal signature, the Italian HORNWOOD FELL’s eponymous first album is a hailed attempt to revive a quasi-defunct genre. From a firsthand listening, we can – with ease - take heed of the early 90’s Norwegian wave influence from the ilk of SATYRICON, or better, DARKTHRONE, giving prominence to the atmospheric dimension of the genre, but also the thematic approach of “forest worship” legibly depicted in the cover artwork of the album.

Like most Black Metal compositions, the utmost characteristic element consists of the bass drum beats lasting for a good share of the time, accompanied by various beats ranging from the snares of “Cerqua” that were a bit too raw, to the ride bells which gave it a ritualistic timber, or else the toms here are way proponent in “Meca”, duplicating what sounds rather like acoustic drum sound. Meanwhile for the guitars, an important fact to stress is the lack of leads: but rather an all-inclusive package of tremolo, with no room for a single breath apart from less charged interludes creating diversity and leaving a chance to stop by and assess this mosaic of arcane, a bit repetitive riffs on mostly indiscernible scales though - at times – pedantically sculptured by ardent craftsmen, backed up by mainly high-pitched harsh vocals, scattered along the tracks independently from the chords, more improvisation-like similar to a spirit that of the forum theater.

Atmospheric allusions were indeed present, often in the form of a headlong acoustic guitar fingering such as in “Meca”, a tap based track, where it gets followed up by a restful two-guitar solo extended to the fading outro, highlighting the many-sidedness of the tempo and drumming style of the mentioned track, carried on in “L’Ira” with the drum crashes and blast beats more pronounced here while less tremolo, instead a genuine distorted guitar sound. Again, the scale gets more epic and the vision clearer in “Mutavento” without any continuum between the various parts of the song which are rather glued together: a rock-ish riff smoothly turns extreme once more through progressive transition. Still, the footsteps on the shrubs across a prairie or ambient nature sounds at the end of most of the tracks sheds some light on the myth of this “enchanted forest” nearly venerated according to the Black Metal traditions, adding further zest to the album. Last but not least, “Vinterfresa” is a two-part track, the first of which starts by snares that may engender an ear sore in the intro but thankfully vanish during the verse, shifting to an enigmatic meditative aura, further brought to the fore in the second part obviously standing the for the outro of the whole album, consisting in a classical guitar fingering that is bewildering see such a romantic instrument turning this dim and shadowy.

With fierce tracks and tricky scales reminiscent of the touch of the early days of the Forest true Black Metal wave, HORNWOOD FELL brings back the experimental music spirit rarely encountered nowadays in a bid to take part in the revival of a scene in constant decline, overshadowed by a metal reality teeming with an abundance of melodic death and metalcore bands (with total respect of both genres). Despite the absence of that “wow factor”, we can hope for more from this band to upgrade from its apparent what I can call “underground of the underground” status.

3 Star Rating

1. Cerqua
2. Tempesta
3. Meca
4. L’ira
5. Mutavento
6. Vinterfresa Part 1
7. Vinterfresa Part 2
Marco Basili - Guitars, Voice
Andrea Basili - Drums
Andrea Vacca - Bass
Record Label: Avantgarde Music


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