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Arafel - For Battles Once Fought - 80%

motherfucker666, February 12th, 2011

‘For Battles Once Fought’ is my first acquaintance with this quintet from Tel Aviv, Israel. This however is the third long player by this lady and gentlemen. In their home country Arafel (which is the Hebrew word for “Fog”) seems to be quite successful and the band’s second album, Through The Flames Of Ages’ is apparently the best-sold album ever in Israel. Unfortunately I haven’t heard the band’s previous works, but if they offer the same quality as ‘For Battles Once Fought’, I can understand their success well.

The band is represented as black metal, but I can only partly agree on that. Epic black metal indeed has the upper hand, but Arafel also delivers death grunts and technical pieces a la Morbid Angel, sturdy thrash riffs and a lot of influences from Folk metal. Ex-Equilibrium shouter Helge Stang has been responsible for the vocals on this album and thanks to his voice, the music sounds even more diverse. Unlike many colleagues in this genre, Arafel keeps a good balance in between the different influences and merge them into a whole. The band also consists of talented musicians, who not only know their way around their instruments but also show strong song-writing skills and deliver tunes that make stand from the beginning to the end. The overall picture may not sound that original and the comparison with bands like Wolfchant, Dyrathor and Nomans Land is obvious, but thatnks to the death an thrash influences within the music and the use of technical riffs, Arafel does distinguish itself from the rest of the genre. They will also be able to apply to a broader audience.

The powerful production by the Wieslawski brothers (Hertz Studio, known from Behemoth, Vader and Decapitated a.o.) leaves no place for discussion and Kris Verwimp’s magnificent artwork completes the picture. Altogether ‘For Battles Once Fought’ is a great addition for fans of melodic black, Viking, pagan and battle metal.