A’Fearna | ‘An Gaisce’
Post Black Metal isn’t really something that comes out of Ireland, largely because it never really got the first part right to begin with. There was Co. Cork’s Shadow Season, who did for a while try to push past the initial boundaries of the form, but even that was more or less orthodox. So it’s nice to see a band following in the wake of Altar Of Plagues to really move things forward.
This roughly recorded demo is very much akin to the aforementioned – specifically their ‘Through The Cracks Of The Earth’ offering. It shows the same strong drumming, a smiliar occasional use of electronic noises, and grim clean guitars here and there as well. In fact, one could go so far as to say they’ve picked up the mantle of Thorns around the time of their ‘Underneath The Universe’ mini-masterpiece from some years back. It’s a powerful mix of old and new.
Though these long songs (10min, 8min, 10min) often veer off in slightly unnecessary directions, the band are ususally smart enough to lock it down when focus is needed. In that respect they’re pummelling, with double bass drumming avalanching down for the harder sections. In fact the shoddy productions helps this, and sounds very much as though they’re playing and recording it live. Maybe they arent. If they are though, this is serious stuff.
The other interesting things here are the breakbeats. Used well, these are an awesome addition to most extreme metal. The beauty of it is that they’re rare, which makes tracks like ‘Mallacht Ár Máthair’ bollock bustingly heavy when they tumble over themselves out of nowhere. That track is another interesting mix, by the way. It’s as if they’ve absorbed a little of Primordial’s grandeur before casting it, and tradition, to the wind and diving straight into slithery, knife-like half beats.
There is a lot of potential in this. They need to rein in the songwriting, granted, and the vocals could be a lot stronger. Instrumentally they’ve got ideas, and they know how to use them. It’s like a weird cross between The State Pathologist Dr John Harbison and Shadow Season, for anyone who remembers either band – and that’s a pretty intriguing thought. It will be most interesting to chart these critters’ development.
-Earl Grey::: 09/06/09