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Forbidden Records recently provided me access to a couple of promo records via their Bandcamp page. One of those I passed up because of my own personal reasons, but I dug into The Outsider by A Transylvanian Funeral. As it turns out, it's the one-man black metal band of label owner Sleepwalker.
The project is based out of Tucson, Arizona, proving once and for all that Arizona is more than just a haven for deathcore. The desert has quite a bit in common with the frozen North, both forbidding wastelands that harbor dangerous wildlife in deceptive abundance.
The record references all the usual suspects, and sounds exactly how you might expect a one-man Norwegian black metal album from 1995 to sound. It starts off with an intro, replete with rain and thunder sounds. It moves into blasting aggression, pulls back to explore some atmosphere, and then blasts again at the end. Stops along the way include some piano with ominous drumming ("A Ghoul Rising from the Grave"), some really cool riffs ("Winter's Worm"), and evil whispers ("Dismembered by Spirits").
All the standard elements are there, right down to the lo-fi production that makes the drums sound flat, although the bass does pop through nicely at times. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," the saying goes. But if I want cold black metal, I'll usually look to colder environs. Why not give a take on the genre that's inspired by arid desolation?
The Verdict: It's not original by any stretch, but the quality is good enough to keep you with it for the full 66 minutes.
originally written for http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/