Saturday, March 17, 2018

Full Length Review: NORTHWIND WOLVES Dark… Cold… Grim… (Black Lion Records)

Dark… Cold… Grim…
Country of origin: USA
Genre: Symphonic black metal
Originally mixed and mastered by Christer Krogh
Remastered by Brett Batdorf
Originally released independently December 20, 2017
Release date: January 18, 2018 (remastered release)
Formed by Astaroth Sinstorm and Brett Batdorf of the melodic death metal band Sinstorm, Northwind Wolves heralded the new year with an album that transcends the limits of human imagination, and heightens what we know as musically creative and expressive. It has long been established that black metal can advance beyond its elementary groundwork. You’ll know this if you listened to Ihsahn, Covenant, Sear Bliss and Charmand Grimloch’s Tartaros. Those bands didn’t seem to be trying to demonstrate how progressive they could be, but accepting and summoning the most darkling mystery in their own souls. While finding it is never a leap of the imagination if you know where to look, the most difficult task is interpreting those discoveries through scales and tablatures that haven’t been tried. People still don’t realize talent and technical prowess are a requirement for musicians to achieve this. By dismissing the rulebook, this band can pose a challenge to prog-rock musicians. Before you scoff, lend an ear to it. Dark… Cold… Grim… is late 1990s black metal at its most seductive. Caustic, atmospheric and vampiric are apt descriptions for it, but can only say so much about the band’s abilities and the response they can evoke in devoted fanatics and newcomers alike. The production has that scraping quality that still appeals to genre fans, but it doesn’t overshadow the dexterity the band display, or the subtlety by which the keyboards ease into the material. Keep in mind this is the first full length the band recorded after releasing an eight song demo in the summer of 2013. I haven’t gotten a chance to hear it yet, but going just by this album I can tell they’ve established what their vision is and hinted at how they intend to refine and cultivate it as they grow more adept at their instruments. The lyrics avoid the kind of blasphemy people expect from extreme metal bands, instead describing the boundaries between the physical world and the undiscovered realms beyond what we see, touch, hear or taste while we’re alive. It suggests with enough commitment and knowledge gained throughout our lives we can achieve even greater things when we finally cross those boundaries. It may come as a surprise after all. -Dave Wolff

Band lineup:
Noor: Lead vocals, guitars, keyboards
Astaroth Sinstorm: Guitars, backing vocals
Lennis Robenson: Bass, backing vocals
Brett Batdorf: Drums, backing vocals

Track list:
1. Dark Skies For Black Sorcery
2. Specters In The Funeral's Mist
3. Cold Hearted Kings Of The Occult
4. Last Light Before The Darkness
5. Foul Wolves And Black Magic
6. Entrance To The Dark Universe
7. Majestic Fog On The Everlasting Mountain
8. Chamber Of The Shadow Lord
9. Celestial Extinction

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