On their new album Wreathed in Mourncloud, the U.K.’s Fellwarden injects a remarkable amount of musical beauty into the black metal framework. The grandiose ferocity of black metal is clearly present, but so are elements like the somberly peaceful riffs of the opening track, which rarely gets into blast beat territory at all.
The music flows gracefully across the extremes, and there’s a spirit of piercing spiritual self-reflection that pervades the whole album on account of how strangely accessible that the artist keeps the raw power that they’re working with.
The huge-sounding, heavy but not overwhelming riffs feel quite close to musical approximations of something like huge ocean waves crashing along a rocky shore or huge clouds falling into place across a horizon, to take some cues from the cover art. When at moments like the opening of track two, the music gets into more physically extreme territory, with blast beats on the drums and more intense guitar riffing, the feeling is something like a heavy thunderstorm settling in. It’s not oppressive, per se, because even in the heaviest moments, there’s that strangely captivating sense of a solemn security that pervades the music quite strongly.
The title track delivers one of the most compellingly broad portraits of the musical world of the album, as if the listeners have been placed on a rocky hillside like that depicted in the cover art upon pushing play. After a minute or so of peaceful guitar strums, the music gets a lot heavier, but it’s not just heaviness; there’s a strong sense of emotionally compelling progression, too. By the end of the song, the artist has turned towards slower, majestic-feeling waves of super heavy riffing that feel fine-tuned to deliver an accessible power.
Although after a couple of minutes, the music kicks into a faster gear, the following track also opens on a significantly slower-feeling, especially restrained note. The artist doesn’t feel like they need to add fancy bells and whistles to communicate the power that they’ve captured in this music. It’s about the riff, an emotionally piercing presentation of power on par with the grandiosity of the harshest storm. Even as the rains fall, there’s something beautiful about the grandiose power of it all.
Check out Wreathed in Mourncloud by Fellwarden below! It’s available now via Eisenwald.