Album Review – Häxkapell / Eldhymner (2021)

Let your soul burn to the debut album by this Swedish Black Metal beast, examining, contemplating and utilizing the concept of fire as a source of power, a destroyer and a bringer of life.

“The longest journey is the journey inwards…”

Founded in 2015 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Oraklet in the city of Haparanda, a locality and the seat of Haparanda Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden, a caustic Black Metal entity that goes by the name of Häxkapell (which means “witch chapel” or “chapel of witchery” from Swedish) is set to release its first full-length opus, titled Eldhymner (or “fire hymns”), an album which examines, contemplates and utilizes the concept of fire as a source of power, a destroyer and a bringer of life. Mastered by T. Stjerna at NBS Studio, and featuring session musicians JM on drums and IPU on the violin, Eldhymner conveys sheer, unadulterated veneration for classic Swedish Black Metal of all kinds, being recommended for admirers of the extreme music blasted by bands the likes of Covenant, Naglfar, Marduk, Emperor and Dissection, among several others.

Ominous sounds permeate the air in the epic intro Kallet (“the call”), inviting us to the Stygian realm ruled by Häxkapell before they take our minds by storm with Tomhetens Lågor (“the flames of emptiness”), with JM dictating the song’s imposing pace while Oraklet roars with tons of anger in his damned heart, resulting in an old school Black Metal composition with some very welcome elements from Atmospheric Black Metal added to its core essence. And this venomous Swedish entity blasts another fulminating Black Metal tune titled Eldskapt (“created by fire”), living up to the legacy of bands like Marduk and Immortal, while Oraklet is utterly infernal with his growls and riffs accompanied by the demonic beats by JM, all spiced up by the crying violin by IPU; flowing into the phantasmagorical Askans Drottning (“the queen of ashes”), where they continue to haunt our souls with their infernal sounds. Moreover, JM is once again bestial behind his drum set, providing Oraklet all he needs to shine with his demonic screams.

Ur Malströmmens Famn (“from the embrace of the maelstrom”) is absolutely demolishing from the very first second, a lecture in Black Metal by Oraklet and his henchmen that will penetrate deep inside your skin and burn your veins and muscles mercilessly. Not only that, Oraklet’s riffage couldn’t have sounded more Black Metal than this, not to mention the song’s cryptic background voices. Then investing into a more cadenced sonority it’s time for a Melodic Black Metal tune titled Solraviner (“sun ravines”), full of breaks and variations supported by the cinematic keys by Oraklet, followed by Häxkapellet (“the witch chapel”), where once again Oraklet vociferates rabidly accompanied by the headbanging drums by JM in a lesson in contemporary Black Metal, evolving into a beyond heavy and crushing extravaganza. In other words, it’s over eight minutes of dark and caustic sounds for our total delight, until the band embraces us all with the ethereal outro Sanningen (“the truth”), where the violin by IPU will finally bring peace to our blackened hearts.

An eternal furnace of chaos breeding that which lies beyond, forever tempting the embers of life with the flames of everlasting silence, fire will always be a pivotal element in our society, representing at the same time life and death, darkness and light, and in Eldhymner the talented Oraklet was capable of transforming that scorching nature of fire into first-class Black Metal, helping to pave the band’s path to stardom in the underground community. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to Häxkapell by following the project on Facebook, and more important than that, by purchasing a copy of Eldhymner from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Nordvis Produktion’s webstore in CD or LP format, or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album. And let the fires of Swedish Black Metal burn bright for centuries to come to the sound of amazing bands like Häxkapell.

Best moments of the album: Eldskapt, Ur Malströmmens Famn and Häxkapellet.

Worst moments of the album: Solraviner.

Released in 2021 Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. Kallet 2:20
2. Tomhetens Lågor 5:51
3. Eldskapt 6:50
4. Askans Drottning 4:46
5. Ur Malströmmens Famn 4:05
6. Solraviner 5:40
7. Häxkapellet 8:31
8. Sanningen 2:18

Band members
Oraklet – vocals, guitar, keyboards

Guest musicians
JM – drums (session)
IPU – violin (session)

Album Review – Falls of Rauros / Vigilance Perennial (2017)

Feel embraced by the Black and Folk Metal thoroughly crafted by this American quartet, ranging from a multilayered bout of aggression to beautiful moments of music that twist with a powerful and honest emotion.

Rating4

nvp055-coverTheir name comes from one of my favorite books of all time, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, inspired by the great falls of River Anduin beneath Nen Hithoel, where the river fell from Emyn Muil to the wetland of Nindalf. Their music, a fusion of Black and Folk Metal with several other elements from distinct genres of music, ranges from a multilayered bout of aggression to beautiful moments of music that twist with a powerful and honest emotion. I’m talking about Falls of Rauros, an extremely talented quartet hailing from the city of Portland, Maine, in the United States, who are releasing their fourth full-length album titled Vigilance Perennial, for the delight of fans of complex and atmospheric music.

Since their inception in 2005 the band has been in a constant state of evolution in their career, with their music flowing organically and increasing in intensity with each of their releases. Featuring an impactful artwork by Sólfjall Design, Vigilance Perennial offers the listener five unique compositions that not only represent the core essence of Falls of Rauros, but that will also take you on a journey of creativity and discovery together with the four members of this idiosyncratic band. If you truly open your mind to the music found in Vigilance Perennial, the entire album will probably become a constant part of your daily music playlist without a shadow of a doubt.

Smooth guitar lines by Jordan and Aaron kick off the opening track, White Granite, being gradually accompanied by Evan on bass and Ray on drums, before Jordan begins firing some hellish gnarls completing the band’s aforementioned fusion of Folk and Black Metal, in this case nicely complemented by subtle hints of Doom Metal. You’ll be travelling through serene fields and harsher landscapes with the band in this full-bodied composition, elevating your emotions and senses before the second aria of the album, Labyrinth Unfolding Echoes, continues to guide you through Falls of Rauros’ whimsical journey. Slow beats and soulful guitars dictate the rhythm in the song’s gentle beginning, but it’s after around three minutes that things get more flammable with their dark and melodic Folk Metal exploding once again, with Jordan growling in a very somber way while Evan and Ray add a lot of progressiveness and epicness to the sonority.

The instrumental piece Warm Quiet Centuries of Rains showcases two minutes of tranquil guitar lines and a pleasant atmosphere, preparing our ears and souls for the dense and multilayered composition that will certainly blast the minds of fans of the genre entitled Arrow & Kiln, where the band fires heavy and aggressive sounds from the very beginning, with Jordan sounding more menacing and demonic than before. Moreover, Ray has an amazing performance on drums with both his Black Metal blast beats and his more rhythmic and progressive beats, helping the other members to constantly alternate between calm instrumental passages and piercing folk sounds powerfully. And closing the album Falls of Rauros offer us all another extreme music extravaganza named Impermanence Streakt Through Marble, a very harmonious and exciting tune where all band members deliver top-notch Folk and Black Metal through their sharp instruments. The song gets remarkably heavy at times, especially halfway through it, with the riffs by Jordan and Aaron and the precise drumming by Ray creating a darkened ambience perfect for the harsh growls by Jordan to sound even stronger.

If you’re ready to tame the unrestrained waters of Falls of Rauros, simply go check their Facebook page for more details on their career, tour dates and future plans. And there are so many different places where you can grab your copy of Vigilance Perennial I might have missed one or two from my list, as you can buy the album at the Falls of Rauros’ BandCamp page, at the Nordvis Produktion’s BandCamp page or webstore (in CD or LP format), at the Bindrune Recordings’ webstore also in CD or LP format, as well as on iTunes or Amazon. Feel embraced by the beautiful extreme music crafted by Falls of Rauros, and let your emotions flow to the sound of their distinguished creations.

Best moments of the album: Labyrinth Unfolding Echoes and Arrow & Kiln.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Bindrune Recordings/Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. White Granite 10:11
2. Labyrinth Unfolding Echoes 9:30
3. Warm Quiet Centuries of Rains 2:17
4. Arrow & Kiln 12:02
5. Impermanence Streakt Through Marble 10:17

Band members
Jordan – vocals, guitar
Aaron – guitar, vocals
Evan – bass
Ray – drums