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Miasma and Atmosphere - 90%

Flowersofevil, February 21st, 2018

Wanderer’s 1995 demo, Surrounded by These Firs, is the only release from the Finnish group, but for me is a hugely under appreciated second wave black metal album. Obviously, Finland has cemented its status as a producer of high quality black and death metal, and this album only contributes to that reputation. I found out about the album through the rate your music profile of someone who’s music taste I really respect. Before the discovery, I had never seen or heard Wanderer or this demo mentioned.

From the first few seconds of the album it is clear this demo is all about atmosphere. Along with the traditional guitar and drums, a keyboard line hovers over the tracks. The vocals are the classic high pitched screeches of second wave black metal. The song moves along at a medium to slow pace and sort of entrances you with its foggy atmosphere and simple keyboard melody. The production is very ‘airy,’ but not in a distracting or bad way, it just adds to the melancholy feeling of the songs. You can still pretty much hear the instruments separately from each other. It sounds the way you would expect a black metal demo from 1995 to sound.

I’m not sure why this album has become one of my favorites. I think I’m drawn to the melancholy feeling and the way the songs feel like they surround you. I’m also a big fan of Mortiis and his first era of albums, or what’s known as dungeon synth, which tends to have a dreamy, ambient vibe. Wanderer’s demo also has elements of that style of music. Not just because of the keyboard, but the general mood and production as well. Anyways, check this one out, because it’s definitely slept on.