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NorthWind Wolves - Mountains and Darkness

NorthWind Wolves
Mountains and Darkness
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 01 November 2019, 11:40 AM

NORTHWIND WOLVES is a Symphonic Black/Death Metal band based out of Los Angeles, California, USA. Formed in 2012, they released their debut album in 2017 titled “Dark…Cold…Grim.” Now, they are back with the sophomore release, “Mountains and Darkness,” which contains ten new tracks.

“Before Dawn’s First Light” leads us off, with spooky keyboards, leading to an ominous Black Metal sound. The symphonic elements are in the background in support, and do not take over the guitars. “Lord of Winter and Death” is just a little bit slower, but similar in scope. Keyboards play a pretty prominent role in this harrowing track. Some melody sneaks in as well, to my liking. “Death of the Lost World” opens with an Eastern flair…some odd instruments create that effect. Some of the chord progressions here are unusual and the drummer does an exceptional job with all of the shifting in time.

“Unholy Forest of Wolves, Pt. 1” features a heavy and aggressive sound of thick guitars and drums, with vile vocals. I love the crunch of the guitars in this piece, and the intensity doesn’t let up. “Pale Winter-Storm Lightning” opens with creepy keys leading right into the main riff. A guitar solo ushers in an alternative sound…these guys have a few tricks up their sleeves. William turns in another strong drumming performance. “Ludmilla the Witch” opens with a slower pace that builds upwards. It has ominous low notes that shake your core and represent a real songwriting strength. Astaroth delivers some dexterous lead guitar notes as well.

“Mountains and Darkness” opens with spoken words. “What do you see? Nothing. Just mountains and darkness” the subjects converse. A quick ambient passage changes the sound for just a few moments. “A Knight Called Death” opens with a subtle and quiet keyboard notes before the main sound comes roaring in. it has a majestic quality to it, as it moves slowly in engulfs the earth around it with an almost Doomy sound. “Unholy Forest of Wolves, Pt. II” opens with lead guitar and some whammy bar dives, leading to a mid-tempo rocker that will get your head bobbing. “Curse of Ages” closes the album, opening with a chaotic sound. The symphonic elements carried the track for the most part, along with the vocals.

Overall, I definitely found this album to my liking. They brought some interesting twist and turns along the way and strayed from the traditional Black Metal sound just enough to call them daring, but did not step over any boundaries, allowing all fans of Black Metal and its various sub-genres an album that they will enjoy. The symphonic elements and use of a few ambient passages were surprisingly good as well.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Before Dawns First Light
2. Lord of Winter and Death
3. Death of the Lost World
4. Unholy Forest of Wolves Pt. I
5. Pale Winter-Storm Lightning
6. Ludmilla the Witch
7. Mountains and Darkness
8. A Knight Called Death
9. Unholy Forest of Wolves Pt. II
10. Curse of Ages
Lineup:
Noor – Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar
Astaroth – Guitar
Lennis – Bass
William – Drums
Record Label: Black Lion Records
     


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