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This'll convert you into a sun worshipper too - 90%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, October 24th, 2016

Alder looks like a very new band, having formed in 2014, but its members were originally part of folk / black metal band Moradin who folded in 2014 after eight years with a demo, an EP and an album to their name. Changing their style to post-BM, Alder have struck out on a new path with their debut album "Sun Worshipper" which they released independently in early 2016. Given that Moradin didn't release their first album until halfway through their 8-year existence, I am guessing the timing of Alder's first release demonstrates determination and a commitment to the long haul on the musicians' part. The band's grit and self-belief are reflected in "Sun Worshipper" as well; the album has passion and a rousing energy that power it all the way.

After a short instrumental opening track of mysterious shadow dream ambience that relaxes listeners and their mental defences, the band gets down to melodic post-BM business with "Sonnenanbeter", a stirring and musically complex piece of penetrating black metal machine-gun fire, churning bass-heavy rhythms, plaintive solo lead guitar brooding and throaty vocal shredding. The song quickly builds up to near-epic proportions with constant pummel and anguished singing, and maintains that level of intensity until its last few moments where it explodes into slashing doom and sheer emotional dread and devastation. Follow-up track "Only Memories Remain" upholds the ambitions and standards set with a slower pace, monumental riffing and bouncy tom-tom thunder that give the track a little bit of a groove beneath the icy gravel singing. The song moves with a force all its own even through a cleaner if moodier instrumental section where only bass melody and a few licks of guitar are present.

Whatever is inspiring these guys continues through the doomy, almost sludge-like "Awakening Nerthus", a true juggernaut track that would be perfect if only the icy production sheen over the song would melt away and allow the band to radiate forth in full three-dimensional bass-and-drum-heavy glory. As it is, the singing seems too far back for its emotional intensity to be felt in full and the drumming is not nearly as hypnotic as it could be. Alder play their hearts out but alas the force streaming out from them is blocked by that sucky production. "Cities of Sand" is a creditable track although I did have a feeling that the band is coasting a little here; certainly the energy of earlier tracks seems a bit less and. The song comes across as a breather track between the album's high point and the final song "Extinction", and it's possible that that is the intention here. Whatever aggression and power have been saved up come flooding forth in "Extinction", a swelling, rousing song of high drama and emotion.

Whew, this sure is an exhilarating album to hear with plenty of heart-felt music, atmosphere and intense feeling. Even though Alder don't do much new in post-BM and probably need to work on a more original and distinctive full-bodied sound, their playing is powerful and their songwriting skills are without peer. Why this album hasn't yet been picked up by a label, I have no idea, but maybe it's a question of when, not if, someone will take notice and sign up Alder. Lovers of evocative atmospheric post-BM with plenty of emotion and drama should give this album a hearing or two - it's one of those albums that should be heard at least once.