Artist: Hunter's Ground
Album Title: No God But the Wild
The production on this album is dominated by the vocals and the high, cutting lead guitar -- the latter is perhaps a little too overwhelming, though it does make for a distinctive sound. Echoing drums and a crunchy rhythm guitar sound round things out, along with the bass. I'd have liked to hear more of the latter, but this is still a huge step up from the production on the demo: everything's crisp and audible, and the overall effect is strong.
The dynamic compositions on No God But the Wild really breathe life into the riffing -- every song overflows with feeling, ranging from epic lamentation to ripping, tearing aggression. The emphasis on the guitars makes the songs quite memorable, as does the constant variety on offer here. "A Storm of Crows" is the perfect opener, short and straightforward, driven by a couple of catchy tremolo riffs. The raw-but-understandable vocals add a dimension of depth throughout. "Their Hands Were Stained From Her Dripping Blood" slows things down a bit, conjuring an epic atmosphere of frustration and regret. I especially like the lead that closes out the song. "And They Fed Their Flesh to the Vultures" might just be the best thing on the album: the interaction between the guitars and the vocals is brilliantly effective! The drumming deserves a mention, too: not one beat here is unnecessary or superfluous. "Speaking With the Tongues of Trees" provides an echoing interlude, and then the sound of rushing water heralds the album's true epic, "No God But the Wild". A swaggering main theme combines with clean singing, pounding drums, and ethereal guitar during the first half; later, the mood suddenly breaks in a fierce storm of riffing. Afterward, the deliberate, stately tempo of "The Fireless Winter" brings things full-circle. A blanket of eerie, floating effects threatens to bury everything, but the guitars break through once more...
Hunter's Ground has really captured something here -- No God But the Wild feels fresh and memorable, packed with ferocity and hunger. The clever compositions make it hard to get bored with it; every time I listen I hear something new. This album comes highly recommended for those who like thoughtful black metal.
"And They Fed Their Flesh to the Vultures", "No God But The Wild", "The Fireless Winter"