Urarv – Aurum

Black metal connoisseurs are certainly familiar with the work of Björn Aldrahn Dencker in DHG, The Deathtrip and Thorns. With the new visionary project Urarv, Aldrahn is eager to explore diverse often avant-garde music territories to create the debut effort “Aurum”.

“Forvitringstid” starts with melancholy infused arpeggios that bear the cold nature of Nordic quiet landscapes but soon viciously abrasive blackened tonalities and gritty rhythms become extremely dominant entwined with scattered spacey melodic guitars while vocals can be wildly moody or desperately introvert.

“Ancient DNA” is filled with a recognizable black metal urgency as guitar riffs acquire speed and blackened groovy tonalities emerging straight from a black hole but this track also features a profound arcane essence.

On “Broken Wand” unconventional vocals and cascading guitar riffs can become quite savage with intense experimental freedom that leads to dissonant elements channeling a dramatic almost hostile sonic chaos.

“Red Circle” chooses a more accessible monolithic guitar driven groove enriched by haunting atmospheres that create hypnotic vibes while vocals range from fierce blackened growls to cries of despair through a thick breathless rhythm that in the last couple of minutes naturally fades into a dreamy serenade.

Psychotic and borderline dissonant yet absolutely spontaneous “Aurum” might be a strange album, uneasy for some unprepared listeners, but its strength will be found in the limitless unrestrained passion for music.

Hallatar – No Stars Upon The Bridge

Hallatar is born as an extension of Trees Of Eternity to bring Aleah Starbridge’s poems and music to the world. Following the devastating death of Aleah, amazing musicians Juha Raivio guitarist of Swallow the Sun and Trees of Eternity, Tomi Joutsen vocalist of Amorphis, former HIM drummer Gas Lipstick and Draconian’s vocalist Heike Langhans united to create the stunning emotional album “No Stars Upon The Bridge”. Gathering Aleah’s poems and lyrics, Juha Raivio was able to translate the most painful emotions into an ensemble of cathartic darkened songs.

Lost in a dark abyss “Mirrors” draws its inner strength from heavy doom guitar riffs while elegantly melancholic melodies slowly unfold to portray a profound feeling of grief and vocals become wretched screams. Lovely, yet extremely anguished, softer guitar melodies and Tomi Joutsen’s heartfelt clean vocals emphasize the overwhelming despair.

“Melt” is the sound of loss and endless pain with a soulful range of precious darkened guitar melodies. Tomi’s vocal performance is particularly impressive featuring guttural primordial growls in contrast with a fervent poetic delivery while haunting atmospheres and dramatic slow instrumental passages express a surreal emotional depth.

On “My Mistake” Heike Langhans delivers an unforgettable performance with graceful dreamy vocals that bring ethereal elegance to the terrific dark doom blend of heavy guitar riffs, always amplified by Tomi’s massive growls, and poignant melodies are further emphasized by exquisite somber keyboards arrangements.

“Severed Eyes” leaves behind the heavy funeral doom structure to embrace minimalist poetry and is filled with spiritual melancholia as Tomi’s sincere clean vocals gently linger over a series of spellbinding diaphanous arpeggios.

The inspired swansong “Dreams Burn Down” holds a fragile darkness with hazy atmospheres and wistful guitar melodies but also feels like the beginning of a healing process through the creation of beautiful music. In the midst of vibrant dense instrumental melodies Tomi’s desperate blackened screams seem to emerge from a nightmarish abyss while Aleah’s enchanting voice becomes a luminous guide delivering a magical sense of hope.

Any listener can easily appreciate the brilliant talent of the musicians that joined forces on Hallatar and even if you don’t know the heart wrenching tragic circumstances behind the genesis of “No Stars Upon The Bridge” this exceptional album will inevitably move you.