I’m not gonna say how great 2019 was for music, because it would be pointless. It was as great as 2018 and as 2020 will be. Some releases will become classics, some will be hailed for a while, then lost in the passages of time. Business as usual.

But with United Kingdom being tortured with shit like drill, grime, Rita Ora, Dua Lipa and Dance Monkey (to name just a few offenders), it is always a welcome sign the domestic shores still beat with the heart for a true metal. Because, let’s be honest – you’re not gonna headbang listening to Snow Patrol….are you?

Angmaer CD cover

From UKEM Records I’ve received this digital promo for the second full-length of Angmaer, the one man project from Wolverhampton. Oh, and we’re into black metal realm (which is, after yesterday’s detour to heavy metal tunes from Shadow Warrior, a welcome addition to my usual goregrind/gorenoise diet).

And what a fucking great album this is. 9 monumental hymns to whatever Angmaer (yep, the persona’s moniker and the project name is the same) worships, the influences of his would probably be very recognizable, and for me it’s definitely a thumb up. The opening of the first track “Angel Of Light” wouldn’t be lost in Satyricon around “Nemesis Divina” (and there’s no discussion about the quality of both), but listeners also gonna get their portion of epicness in “Victoria Aut Mors” and the choruses withing the song…I am listening to this nice track with eyes closed and yeah, do I enjoy it. From the pure black metal onslaught of the opening song we’re somewhere in the Viking influenced BM and I again give a thumb up. I like it.

“Into Eternity” is one of the longer tracks on the album in which the melody and the musical fury intervine in the perfect metal harmony. And the riffs, the riffs, my friends!! This is the musical equivalent of spending night in the ruins of old castles, dreaming of the ages gone. The song itself is quite strange, going from blasts, to midtempo, then even slower, it’s like Angmaer is jamming, just himself, but wait, there’s more! The blasting black metal tunes are back with the riffs, which in their simplicity and repetitiveness evoke the best times of someone called Varg… long song, but not boring, which is always a plus.

And mentioning long songs, “As The Rivers Flow With Blood” is the longest track on the album, impressive 7:03. Now, this is quite a feat to make the song that long interesting (unless you’re doing drone doom or something of similar nature). The underlying guitar motive is interesting, it’s like an urgent alarm sound, but the only cause for alarm is the music itself. Again – and that’s for Angmaer’s benefit – the music is varied…and I am somewhere in the middle now, I really do like accoustic guitar interludes or solos, but it’s probably my current state of mind craving ultrafast beats, which doesn’t allow me to fully enjoy the classic guitar in the portion of the song. That being said, what follows satisfied me totally, so don’t count it as complaint. Just for your information, that lad can write 7-minutes long song with ease.

Angmaer dude

Getting to the second half of the album, “Flight of Muninn” is one of the shorter songs here, and it seems that on this we’re getting a full dose of different flavours of BM, as this track reminds me – in parts – a good ole black’n’roll or speed black stuff. Not that I will complain, far from it…it’s just a proof Angmaer understand the point of writing interesting album. And the part after 3:50 mark, that’s pure delight (mark my words).

And the shortest song now. “Slaying The Bastard Son”, that’s classic 2nd wave black metal, without a doubt. Personally I like that doubled vocals and the minimalistic riff, the whole song sounds more like an incantation, and do I like that approach!

“Bringer of Eternal Fire” boasts not only the nice title, fiting for a black metal song, but also great sounding black metal song itself! Again and again, I will praise the riffing, I like this folkish influence here. As a whole, this stands shoulder to shoulder with many well-known hymns in black metal music. I won’t say “instant classic”, but you will agree this is a fucking kick ass tune. It actually sounds so modern, while preserving what the classic BM songs had…the structure, the cold, but with that vibrating life in the song itself. You know what I mean…the feeling you’re picking up a sword and shield any minute now and charge against the whole world…This song is also one of my personal favorites on the album, if not the best one for me.

Angmaer logo

And before we finish, here’s “Summoner”, 6:20 opus starting in a really, really weird way, but after the first minute is over, we’re back in the familiar black waters of damnation. Oh, hell, the relentless drumming pleases my ears like a balsam. I haven’t mentioned it before, but one of the good points of the album is quite a clear vocal, so from time to time I am able to pick up the lyrics (and that’s not always the case, as you know). Again, the accoustic guitar intermezzo sounds great, bringing up the feeling of the past ages, and this time I enjoy it much more than the one in the “As The Rivers Flow With Blood”, however, after “Bringer of Eternal Fire”….that song is hard to top.

The end of the album belongs to “Transcending II”, to the wailing guitar’s riff and accompanying bass (which is nice and clear here – and if you read my reviews, you know I love the bass lines), and I also like the drumwork – and believe it or not, it’s not because of the speed! Don’t worry though, the song itself offers a treasure of nice melodic riffs and fast double drums, and it’s a fitting end of the fantastic album.

Fans of lo-fi and raw stuff should stay away, but if you like your black metal intelligent and well played, get this album.

Band’s music: https://angmaer.bandcamp.com/

Record label: http://www.ukemrecords.co.uk/