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This album seems to be overlooked by most now that Bloodthorn has become a faceless death/grind band. As a bit of history, “In the Shadow of Your Black Wings” was released by the French label Seasons of Mist, coming out not long before their infamous “WAR” split with Finland’s …and Oceans. They then hopped over to the American Red Stream label for the release of their third full-length, after which they disappeared from the underground music scene for a quite a while. Five years later, they re-emerged on Morningstar Records a completely different band.
For a band that changed their style more than I typically approve of, this release hit and destroyed the mark for Bloodthorn. The Black Metal influences were still quite present within the music, and this churned out a mix of thick, menacing metal, but with a ubiquitous, gloomy Doom-esque atmosphere (including the implementing of synths and exquisite female vocals), combining to create an infernally romantic bastard child. This album differs from the rest of the band’s discography by successfully utilizing the said atmosphere in order to prevent the music from stagnating, which I felt was the case with most of their other material. Krell’s vocals are excellent, and build to a wall of growls. This is paired with original and ever-changing riffs, maintaining a melody and mood typically not seen in the lifeless Black Metal archetype. The drumming keeps a pounding mid-pace throughout the album’s length, and this, paired up with the wall of utter heaviness that the vocals, guitar and synths create, makes for an epic experience teeming with Scandinavian undertones.
The one thing that I do not understand is why the band chose to place the final track ‘…with a Bloodstained Axe’ after several minutes of short, silent tracks as the 66th song. I find this to be completely useless.
To conclude, this album is an overlooked, but solid, classic, gem of a release from a group that used to be one of the best of the second wave Black Metal bands which poured out of Scandinavia after the death of [The True] Mayhem. Unfortunately the band’s death/grind influence became more and more evident with every succeeding release, and this eventuated in a change from an original sound to a faceless one that has been overkilled over the past couple of years.