The British band Amherawdr exists for 15 years, but only this year the music label Onism Productions has released their first record ever, the debut album “Adorned With the Figures of Snakes”. Actually, it was created ten years ago, but due to internal differences within the band, it was postponed indefinitely. But now the fans of atmospheric black metal can immerse themselves in this nature-inspired melancholic album.
There was only one 38-minute composition on the original release in 2019, but this year Onism Productions divided it into two parts for convenience. Despite the fact that this album really sounds like one long composition, it isn’t too prolonged or boring, on the contrary, it is full of pleasant moments.
The album starts with an acoustic intro, and during the album these acoustic passages periodically come up to emphasize melancholic, nostalgic or sorrowful mood. The music itself is closer to atmospheric black metal (with some analogies to depressive black) with slight tinge of folk and ambient. The temp is slow (almost doomy) or middle, except for the most aggressive parts with accelerated pace, typical to pure black metal. There are lots of instrumental passages, they are not annoying or too long, but they are responsible for extra atmospheric aura. Occasionally the mood of songs drastically varies, from acoustic neofolk to traditional black metal.
The singing technique of Ri Orus is also diverse – from silent narrative to brutish screaming, depending on spiritual temper of the song. During the acoustic parts the voice is calmer and more tranquil, but during the fast tempo it is more powerful and violent. Generally the clean vocal lines are hoarse and low, but sometimes Ri Orus sings with higher voice, but not less gloomy and dark. During the narrations, there’s accent on slow and acoustic parts of the song, which more fits to folk metal. Even his screaming is husky, but full of emotions. The main parts on this record are the voice and the guitar lines, but during the fastest moments the rhythm section comes to the fore. But no catchy or memorable melodies, but regardless, the album leaves behind particularly positive perception.
Amherawdr deals with ancient British mysticism and romanticism in the lyrics, with a huge influence of the magic of nature, the music is soaked through it and becomes alive itself (the sound effects only increase this illusion, i.e. the murmur of waters). And the cover art ideally fits in this concept – dark, foggy English landscape, veiled in mysterious atmosphere.
The music of Amherawdr isn’t hyper original or some kind of revelation, and mostly it is influenced by bands like Agalloch or Primordial. But mystic aura, filled with sacraments of nature, romantic melancholy and somber agony make the album “Adorned With the Figures of Snakes” worthy and decent on atmospheric black metal scene.
Release date: June 20th, 2020
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