So I want to start off this review by saying that I think this is a fantastic album in it’s own right, and that Ungfell to be has cemented himself as one of the top black metal projects around right now. That said, when you are following up one of the best black metal albums of 2017, the expectations are pretty damn high, and I think it’s safe to say this didn’t quite live up to my sky high eagerness for this to be an AOTY candidate.
For starters, it’s almost uncomfortable how much of a peste noire ripoff this is. Like yeah, his previous album had elements of that, but this is just…. gosh, it just sounds like a folkier version of late 00s peste noire. It’s almost shameless in comparison. Now that said, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I like Peste Noire, and honestly I feel like Ungfell has a better sense of composition, and his folk elements are really well done. That’s my favorite thing about this honestly, I LOVE the folk interludes. Granted, the pacing of them is not the best, and it disrupts the flow of the album a bit too much, but nevertheless individually they are filled with charm and are fantastic in their own right.
This album is overall much more melodic than the previous one, for better and for worse. I think again, Ungfell has fantastic compositional sense, and manages to merge traditional folk style melodies with a medieval black metal aesthetic really well. However I feel like this just lacks a certain edge to it. His last album was really gritty and underground sounding, and this just sounds so much more tame. Granted, it also has a bit of a different aesthetic, but I think I preferred the previous one more.
Again though, this is still one of my favorites from this year, and I look forward to his future projects with much excitement! It’s just hard to follow up on something that was so damn near perfect.