If there’s one thing that really ticked all the boxes for me last year, it was my discovery of some seriously good Cumbrian black metal bands. It’s not a surprise really, the area lends itself perfectly to the style. Equal parts bleak and beautiful, harsh and unforgiving yet majestic. Helvellyn and Torver were my two favourites from last year, and I’ve recently been sent the debut EP by another CBM band, Skiddaw. Skiddaw, for those of you who don’t know, is the fourth highest fell in the Lake District and dominates every northern view you can get. It’s a vast, grey monolith, hewn from slate and stone. An implacable and iconic landmark of the Northern Fells. Helvellyn lived up to their namesake by being both frosty and majestic. Let’s see if Skiddaw can do the same.

Opening track ‘Skiddaw Forest’ is a suitably moody intro, the sound of howling wind drawing a clear, tremolo riff from the depths. It’s restrained, dissonant and evocative. It matches no cliche black metal intros, which is a positive. First track proper, ‘Skiddaw Towers’, is an altogether different beast. Eschewing traditionally thin and vicious black metal attacks, this is a thick, meaty slice of rasping black metal fury. No banshee shrieking either, vocally it’s deeper, darker and more malevolent for it. Propelled by a thunderous drumming performance, ‘Skiddaw Towers’ is excellent, mid paced horror with some soaring guitar melodies in amongst the murk.

‘Gates of Beleth’ is more relentless in pace, a battering ram of blasting drums, vicious snarls and razor sharp riffs. It’s very reminscient of Marduk in spirit, but becomes a churning maelstrom of hatred and bile in the latter half. ‘Even Titans Fall’ is another hurtling train of blackened power. This is black metal that barrels through you, merciless in execution and dense in atmosphere. This isn’t any tinny, weedy guitar riffing, plastic drum kit, made-in-my-mum’s-basement nonsense. This is thick, raw black metal with meat, with savagery, with darkness. Skiddaw match their namesake well; unforgiving and bleak. I love it

  1. […] before, and they contribute ‘Even Titans Fall’ from their self titled debut. Go read my review to understand why this Gorgoroth-esque razorblade will flay skin from […]

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