|Review: Arawn - Welsh Black Metal|
|Welsh Black Metal|
Year released: 2007
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: September 30, 2008
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
for:Welsh Black Metal
Arawn is the solo project of Welsh multi-instrumentalist Bleiddwn-y-nos (Bleiddwn being a Welsh folkloric character, roughly translating to 'wolf man', which when coupled with the 'y-nos' part, it roughly equates to 'wolf man of the night'). Yeah, I'm not in any way multi-lingual, so have my girlfriend to thank for that as she's part Welsh! Anyhow, I digress. Despite having one the most polite and impressive bio-sheets to come alongside a self released demo, I didn't let the amiable words fool me into a false sense of security, as I was soon to discover that the music here is blacker than a starless night in winter, and twice as cold.
Arawn play a melancholic, brooding style of folky Black Metal which takes its lyrical inspiration from Welsh folklore (indeed, the band name itself comes from the name of the lord of the underworld in Welsh mythology). Straight off the bat, the first thing I notice is that the music and production quality are above standard demo levels — with the grandiose, medieval sounding introduction building slowly into the opening riffs which flow forth, weeping their tales of sorrow and anguish behind a throaty wraith-like vocal performance. Bleiddwn-y-nos certainly isn't afraid to use synthesizers to great effect either, managing to come up with some fresh ideas alongside the claustrophobic guitars and airtight production, creating some really eerie atmospheres, even giving the occasional nods toward the 70's-influenced style of latter day Sigh. The mid-to-slow paced riffs rise and fall like the Welsh valleys, floating like a cold mist from your speakers similar to the way Gehenna's earliest releases used to — no mean feat for a band so early in its career.
As well as Sigh, there's quite a few more influences I can hear in Arawn's music (the occasional vocal line that reminds of Akhenaten of Judas Iscariot, and the odd snippet of the strong pagan spirit heard in later Graveland releases) but none of which are worn too tellingly to sound like a rip off clone band, therefore giving the music quite a unique quality of it's own — something of a anomaly in this day and age of plentiful 4-tracks and MySpace. For one, I know I'll certainly be interested to see how Arawn's future pans out.
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