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Review: Artach - Chronicles of a Black Winter
Chronicles of a Black Winter

Label: Independent
Year released: 2020
Duration: 45:10
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: May 28, 2020
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Chronicles of a Black Winter

Rated 0/5 (0%) (0 Votes)

We've been hitting temperatures in the neighbourhood of +35 C these past few days, so what's better to cool off than some winter-themed black metal? Artach is a duo that hails from Newfoundland & Labrador. It's the easternmost Canadian province, which sits right by the northern Atlantic, and that means they get some savage weather and they certainly know what's a harsh winter. I think their capital is still digging out of the epic snowstorm from last winter.

Just off the top of my head, I can't really think of a black metal band to compare Artach to, so they do have kind of their own thing going. Their lyrical content is focused on winter and you get the expected environmental comments, with harsh vocals that give the lyrics kind of a tormented and apocalyptic delivery. I'm not too crazy about the vocals, there's this "je ne sais quoi" that kind of rubs me the wrong way but the vocalist's style is growing on me slowly. A plus for them being rather easily decipherable.

Musically, Chronicles of a Black Winter is mid to fast-paced and pretty fucking heavy at times. The slowest parts have that crushing heaviness that I found really effective, the kind that stops you dead in your tracks. The faster parts feel a bit all over the place and kind of keep you guessing as to what the hell they're going to hit you with next. There's a notable influence from classic heavy metal in the guitars; when the black metal shredding stops, you're transported into something that sounds lifted from classic heavy/thrash and the guys make all this stuff flow rather well together. Overall the atmosphere is not as "cold" as one would expect and the album has more of a fast and aggressive rocking vibe overall, with the occasional doom for seasoning.

This is an album that took a little time to grow on me and after more listens than I care to count, I still hear little twists that I hadn't heard before. Pretty cool debut from a band that's doing its own thing in a genre where bands are often content to imitate.

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