Another Italian atmospheric black metal band, Hornwood Fell, have appeared on my radar recently, but this time I am totally unfamiliar with what they have done. ‘Yheri’ is their new record, and it’s out now on Avantgarde Music.
As with many of these atmospheric bands, ‘Yheri’ incorporates a lot of acoustic moments, but it is a lot more metal focused than some are. Opener ‘Walking in the Wood’ is straight to the jugular after a brief acoustic intro. Cascading second wave riffs pour over you in a raging torrent, while the acoustic lapses allow moments to breathe. Hornwood Fell have some eerie moments too, like the ritualistic quieter moments of ‘The Encounter’, or the delicate moments of ‘At His Awakening’. These serve to enhance the mood that the album portrays.
Hornwood Fell are at their strongest, however, with a blackened riff in their hand, bile in their throat and an icy threat to their music. Black metal is a strange genre; in that the most rigid traditionalists can be celebrated as much as those who break the mold and change the formula. Hornwood Fell take the best from both sides, but their traditional game is strong, particularly the mesmerising fury of ‘The Snowstorm’, or the glassy menace of ‘The Other Generated’.
‘Yheri’ is definitely an album that is worth your time. Mixing traditional second wave rabidity with ghostly acoustics and haunting vocal melodies, Hornwood Fell add themselves to Italy’s growing underground scene as a flag bearer for intelligent black metal.