A black metal outfit with folk influences, Windfaerer have bright ideas and ambitious attitude. On the nature of the band itself, the members say that “It exists as an homage to ancestral travels and an essence beyond our grasp.”

Grand schemes indeed, reflected in their music which is as atmospheric as it is destructive. Solar is their third release.

Drums that could lay waste to a small country, (plus vocals that might mirror the screams of people unlucky enough to get caught there) push this record firmly into the black metal genre, but the aggression is tempered with an excellent melodic focus, and some interesting use of non-orthodox instruments in Windfaerer‘s take on the sound; namely, acoustic and electric violins.

It’s a ferocious assault, but the dynamic allows for progression, and some startlingly bleak yet beautiful passages spurred by violin rises, such as in the calm midsection of the otherwise extremely heavy Blackened Void. This moves into a passage of such starkly emotive harmonization, that it bears little resemblance to the cold world of black metal – though it does sound a little like Coldworld‘s masterfully cutting album Melancholie². But that’s a good thing, as Coldworld was another band who truly thought beyond the box to incorporate melody into such a heavy style.

Solar is characterised by its yearning sound, a tapestry of grim and gaunt landscapes dappled with sunlight. Though black metal has always sat at the very extreme far end of the metal spectrum, there’s something about the barrenness of it all which renders this music sublime rather than just oppressive.

It’s a far cry from Mayhem‘s violence or Emperor‘s thrashy and dissonant darkness. Tracks like Worlds Of The Self and The Morning Star ooze melodic class even through the most intense passages. The Morning Star interestingly contains a few riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early In Flames record, and this excursion into melodic death metal suggests that Windfaerer take influence from a wider range of material than just black metal. This has expanded their sound beyond the expected, while retaining the brutality of the heavier genre.

Check out A Glimpse Of Light below. It’s one of the more aggressive pieces of the album, and the vocals aren’t always perfect. But there’s something to be noted about this raw, visceral track nonetheless, especially when it bursts into emotion during the solos.

Solar is an excellent release which offers quite an original take on folk influenced black metal, along with an extremely talented orchestration of melody. At the beginning of this review, I suggested that had set the bar high for themselves – but they’ve achieved a great deal here. Solar is their third release, which they have said is an EP. But with seven tracks of considerable length and development, this feels like a complete work of incredible depth.

So I can’t wait to hear what they can produce on a studio album.

For Fans Of: Coldworld, Northern Sword, Ravenage.