Vorfeed.net B.M. Reviews - Morthond - Somber Deathwinds

Artist: Morthond Album: Somber Deathwinds
Label: Ma-Kahru/Regimental

This is a demo from Morthond, an American band that plays trancelike black metal in the vein of mid-career Burzum or early Darkthrone.

The first thing you'll notice about this record is how much it sounds like it was written in 1994. This band has done a great job in replicating the second-wave black metal guitar sound, especially the extended high tones. The drum parts are well-played but minimal, for the most part, and placed quite low in the mix. Vocals are a tortured scream, and the sparse way in which they're used is quite effective in conveying an oppressive atmosphere. Simple keyboard parts are used every now and then, always as background to the guitar.

For the most part, the album is slow-paced. The sheer amount of repetition reminds me of Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger, or more recently, Abyssic Hate. Each song is built from seemingly simple building blocks, but the combination thereof is quite complex, and tiny variations in the patterns are used to tremendous effect. The songwriting here shows a good deal of quality, in that the album is repetitive without being too predictable, and the riffs are obscure but still hold emotional power.

While almost any competent band can ape the sound of the early black metal masters, very few can manage to truly replicate the feeling of those works. Morthond is one of these notable exceptions. This album is extremely atmospheric, yet the individual riffs are quite memorable, making it very easy to lose oneself in the music. All in all, "Somber Deathwinds" is a very impressive demo, and holds a great deal of promise for an even better debut.

Standout Tracks: "The Wandering Apparition", "Lost in the Fog of Dissonance"