In 2010, a little-known New Jersey blackened death outfit called Windfaerer released their debut full length, Tribus. This album is etched permanently in my mind as one of the most underrated albums of that particular year. Windfaerer manage to create something rare – a black metal album that both sounds refreshing and unique, but is inherently listenable and memorable.
Nothing new has sprung from the Winfaerer camp until this year, where they released a 7-song EP Solar, although at 35 minutes calling Solar an EP is like calling a Mark 1 Jaguar, “a car”. And, if I may stretch this metaphor beyond all comprehension, Solar has many more aspects in common with the Mark 1 – it’s sophisticated, black and seriously badass.
The opener, “The Mortal Flare”, might be a bit slow and chugging for some, but has enough depth and interest between drums and guitars and that quiet-but-ever-present violin to set the tone for the album. Marching drums fade off and lead straight in to “A Glimpse of Light”, an anthem of manic drums and the kind of black-metal riffs that make you want to headbang instead of kill things. Michael Goncalves’s hoarse scream contrasts perfectly with the more melodic aspects of the music, and a soaring solo completes what can only be described as an “epic” song. There are definite folk elements here, but these fit seamlessly with the overall composition.
My favorite track from this release is definitely “Blackened Voids”, and that’s mainly thanks to Karas’ violin performance, cutting through the blasting drums and fuzzy vocals with effortless style. The violin is part of what gives Windfaerer the added dimensionality – the rest is simply down to simple, catchy riffs and songs that prove melody and bleakness can exist side-by-side. The riffs in many songs, especially “Blackened Voids” and “In the Shadow of Giants” remind me of Amon Amarth’s galloping style, but the overall sound is unique Windfaerer.
There aren’t many black metal bands doing something both unique and listenable these days. Check out Windfaerer. You won’t be disappointed.