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Gorgeous atmospheric metal - 100%

Supakoopa666, January 7th, 2014

Just to get right out there and say it, this has got to be one of the best black metal albums I've ever heard. Hands down. I gave it a listen after it showed up in my YouTube recommendations, and I was completely and utterly blown away by this album.

Most atmospheric black metal I've heard so far is very dark and gloomy. Take Xasthur and Leviathan for example. Granted they're technically ambient/depressive, but they still are extremely atmospheric. Their music puts you in a dark place, a place devoid of light and happiness. Elderwind, on the other hand, to you to a beautiful nature sanctuary. It simply makes you feel good listening to it. Each song is layered with keyboards, strings, and the occasional ambient track, creating a bright atmosphere that sticks with you all day. The guitars usually play simple melodies in the background, adding to the overall tone. It's worth mentioning that there are barely any riffs on this album: it's purely melody driven, and it's a wonderful thing. This is backed up by a somewhat out of place raspy whispery scream, similar to what you hear on Xasthur's albums, but they really make it work. I do kind of wish there was an instrumental version of the album, but it's still perfect the way it is.

The overall tone of the album is one of a melancholy cheerfulness, if that makes any sense. A better way to put it is the musical equivalent of the light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining of a dark cloud, or the dawn of a new day. It's a feeling of hope when you think all was lost, and it's a simply wonderful feeling. You feel like you're on a quest through some mystical wilderness in an ancient fantasy land, surrounded by nothing but the sounds of the forest. It truly makes you feel the magic of nature through its simple but powerful melodies.

All in all, this is definitely an album worth checking out. I rarely am privileged to hear such an awe-inspiring display of auditory bliss. This is definitely quickly shooting up into my favorite albums of all time. It's that good.

Favorite tracks: In the Snow, Shining Star, The Approach of Spring, Cold in the Soul

Least favorite tracks: None, they're all fantastic!