In the last couple of years, Werewolf Records has been releasing some of the best black metal albums. Those who are familiar with groups such as Ymir, Mooncitadel, Mørketida and Vargrav will find indisputable qualities in Battlespells‘, the sophomore of Finnish black metal band Warmoon Lord. Fully composed by its sole member Vechi Vrajito, ‘Battlespells‘ is somewhat different from the debut album. ‘Burning Banners of the Funereal War‘ had a rawer and more primitive pitch in the direction of the songs. The sophomore has a lot to offer for fans of melodic/symphonic black metal. Its main theme centers on epic battlefields and sorcery, sprawling with Tolkienesque themes of war.
The melodic flow of the guitars and the synth of the intro ‘Virtus Tenebris‘ are very appealing and fit the tone of the album. Warmoon Lord offers an abundance of melodic lines and stylish tremolo-picked riffs. The aggressive gush of blast beats on the following song ‘Purging Nefarious Vortex‘ along with the catchy momentum of the guitars, the ominous vocals and the synthesizer seems to symmetrically flow together. Vechi Vrajitor embellishes his atmospheric and symphonic style with elements of the second wave of black metal. Warmoon Lord breaks the oft monotonous tone of the modern Finnish bands. ‘Of a Moribund Vision‘ takes some inspiration from early Emperor where the keyboards engulf the listener with a mysterious aura. ‘Battlespells‘ crafts dreamlike fantasy soundscapes of magic and moonlight symphonies. The expertise of the composer has resulted in engrossing moments of surrealism.
There are subtle variations in each of the passing songs. While the guitars are steered by thick tremolos, the drumming pace escalates to create fast tempos, fully soaked in mesmerizing synths patterns. On a song like ‘The Key of the Moonpiercer‘ the choral arrangements achieve a cinematic scale. Between the acoustic string passages wafting with Celtic emotion, the music builds up in the traditional fashion of black metal.
The keyboard passages ebb and flows with grandeur. For example, ‘Empowered with Battlespells’ is another epic track, beautifully layered with bombastic keyboards. The sweeping symphonies are one of the most distinctive elements of the album. Where the guitars are concerned, the sole member provides plenty of hooks and catchy moments. From the beginning of the album Vechi Vrajitor sets a perfect mood whereas the thematic tone of the music creates a pompous atmosphere. The fast drum gallops add intensity and power as the epic synth moves to the background and the heavy guitar riffs contrast beautifully with the epic choral.
‘Battlespells‘ doesn’t reach the parallel oeuvre of V-Khaoz. Despite the similarities with Vargrav I would say they both tackle different sonic dimensions. Beginning with catchy melodic guitars ‘Oracles of War‘ weaves lush symphonic passages into the composition that transition to intense blast beats. The song crosses its epic peaks with powerful riffs and intense blast beats. The high-pitched rasps of the vocals build up towards deep emotions. Amid the sonic intensity, the charming atmosphere crafted by the synth feels omnipresent throughout its splendourous span of thirty-five minutes.
The fusion of atmospheric elements adds a surreal texture to the epic composition on the album closure. ‘In Perennial Twilight‘ instantly transitions to a full majestic mode. Vechi Vrajitor masterly conjures orcish themes and fantastic symphonies on the sophomore effort. Overall, the seven tracks flow smoothly. The most effective part of the track is its mid tempo melody . Finally, as one of the best black metal releases of the year 2021, ‘Battlespells‘ is recommended for fans of Vargrav, Mooncitadel and early Emperor.
Release Date: June 25th, 2021
Label: Werewolf Records
- Virtus Tenebris
- Purging Nefarious Vortex
- Of a Moribund Vision
- The Key of the Moonpiercer
- Empowered with Battlespells
- Oracles of War
- In Perennial Twilight
Trackbacks & Pingbacks
[…] highly impressed us with their sophomore release ‘Battlespells‘ (for our review go here), which brought us old school epic symphonic black metal with strongly battle-centered themes. […]
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