Ankou and the Death Fire, the new album from Black Funeral will be released on September, 9th and will sparkle with fresh shades of black for those whose eyes and ears are used to this color! Moreover, this album will awake interest of listeners by conceptual lyric’s theme!
Since 1993, Black Funeral, as a band with indestructible satanic ideology, has been astonishing black metal community. Due to the stability of band’s founder Michael Ford Nahttoter, who lives by his own ideas but not just singing about them, we still have an opportunity to enjoy the ritual, raw and embittered music. Black Funeral went through times preferred dark ambient sound, but returned into the framework of black-metal. Currently, the band members are founder Akhtya Nachttoter (shouting, singing, lyrics and black ambient soundscapes), Azgorh Drakenhof (guitar, bass, keys and composing) and An Unnamed Spirit (drums).
Album title refers to the Breton mythology. Ankou is a mysterious and dangerous death omen with long white hair, dressed in long rags and wide-brimmed hat. Sometimes he carries a long braid with him and ride in funeral cart. This character is depicted on album’s cover in winding and horrifying style.
Entire subject of the album devoted to various otherworldly creatures from different stages of development of Celtic mythology. All of them are brothers and sisters of the same gatherer of dead – Ankou. Names of songs include authentic names of these monsters. Each song reveals their character and the music expands the range of sensual man who feels the imminent creation presence of darkness just beyond the measure.
The opening song of the album is “Shadows of Obour”. Few know that the word «Obour» available in many languages and dialects of Eastern Slavs, and translates as «vampire». If you imagine it through music, you get raw, abruptness, ruckling song. This track breaks into memory. In my opinion, this is the only truly catchy track in this album.
Trembling vocal, crunch of fire and knocking of stones under unstoppable wheels of cart, carrying a messenger of death Ankou are opening the second song – “Ankou and the Death Fire”. Otherworldly atmosphere is magnified by hysterical shirking.
“Dearg-due (Blood Drinker)” – the third song of the album. The beginning sounds like a spell, that echoes and makes listeners shudder. This track is dedicated to the legend of the first of the vampires – the beauty of miserable fate that annually rises from the grave for revenge. In general, the composition is interesting, but very similar to the previous two song.
Wind and mysterious drum rhythm are opening fourth song – “Gwyn ap Nudd (King of the Underworld)”. Suddenly introduction becomes the main theme. Although sharp and not very logical transition was too confusing for me during the first listening but further song sounds extremely epic. Melody evokes associations with the Wild Hunt, which Welsh believed to be led by legendary Gwyn ap Nudd.
In the fifth song “Oberour ar Maro (Henchman of Death)” Ankou returned to us. Finally, the whole power of vocals became clear for me. On this track it sounds as if frozen meat suddenly was thrown into boiling oil and then bang, scrunch nad hissing! And all this in a thick covering of rich, saturated music that explodes in the background.
“Cwn Annwn (To Harvest Human Soul)” – a short track that ends in quite an original and atmospheric style. Keyboards party stops, just as it is unable say something new and stop repeat the words it has already said.
Seventh song is “The Morrigan (Battle Crow)” which evoke in imagination some pictures of bloody battle and goddess Morrigan in the guise of a crow flying through and gathering dead souls, like Valkyries did in Scandinavian mythology. Quite naturally it flows into the eighth track – “Labous an Ankou (Bird of Death)”. It grows out of silence with owl cry and goes nowhere in the end.
The album ends by ominously “Dullahan Graven in Funeral Lights”. Dulahan – headless horseman, another Irish messenger of death. The song ends with horrific diabolical laughter and heavy demonic breathing. Atmospheric ending!
The overall impression of the album is not clear. It’s an acquired taste, sound is raw, though I’m confident that was conceived just like that. The music is somewhat rhythmically and melodically monotonous. On the other hand we cannot praise interesting conceptual idea and deep familiarity with Celtic mythology. Also we should mark organically furious vocal.
Ankou and the Death Fire definitely worth listening for fans both melodic and not polished to the glamorous gloss black metal. So let’s expect release and glorify the dark forces, friends!