AMHERAWDR - Adorned With The Figures Of Snakes

Amherawdr - Adorned With The Figures Of Snakes

2 songs
38:06 minutes
***** ****


I used to really like atmospheric black metal when it was still something new, but like everything else, the genre soon turned predictable and stale. I was surprised therefore to discover Amherawdr from South West England whose debut album Adorned With The Figures Of Snakes, although containing two nineteen minute long tracks, might be considered a nearly forty minute long composition.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that Amherawdr have stopped being around for nearly ten years now. They recorded a couple of tracks before trying their hands at this mega-piece, and while the remaining material might never see the light of day, the musicians decided that Adorned With The Figures Of Snakes deserved a release, and right they are! The quartet rekindles the passion of the early days of atmospheric black metal, with a full dose of melancholy, and despite the bandís underground nature, recorded in a splendid fashion. Instead of regular six-string guitars, the band uses a seven-string guitar and a baritone guitar, making for a richer sound.

Itís hard to describe this ultra-long piece. I have always been a sucker for side-filling epics, starting with the progressive rock gods from the early Seventies, and culminating in all kinds of experimental kinds of music. And after a certain fashion, Adorned With The Figures Of Snakes can be deemed progressive. The song is full of different moves, covering different kinds of styles, from gothic to dark metal before making a crescendo to fierce black metal blizzards. While I have only positive things to say about the instrumentation, itís the vocals that shine the brightest. Shared between the two guitarists, they add all kinds of mood, from desperate wails to low grumbling and ecstatic black metal shrieks. And despite all these extreme genres that are being used, the music still manages to sound accessible yet fortunately never cheesily symphonic. As long tracks go, this is one of the more successful attempts. Of course there are a lot of different movements, making this something like a suite, and thatís what should help make Amherawdrís music appealing to many metal fans. Itís a shame that the quartet called it a day after this recording, because with the proper promotion, this might have helped guide atmospheric black metal into better territories. But alas thatís a timeline we didnít get to live through.

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