Blood Red Fog - On Death's Wings
Saturnal Records
Black Metal
5 songs (36' 26")
Release year: 2014
Saturnal Records
Reviewed by Andy

For those acquainted with Finnish black metal outfit Blood Red Fog's past work, On Death's Wings doesn't come as a big surprise. Though they're missing the deep, clean vocals of the last LP, Harvest, their depressive, yet melodic and riff-filled sound has a lot in common with it, and that's mostly a good thing.

Past black metal traditions keep a tight grip on On Death's Wings's sound. The production is pretty easy on the ears, but mixed deliberately roughly; BRF's guitars tend to start with a squeal of feedback before the riffs begin. The drums (also done by BRF) on the first track, Blazing Star are at first double-kicked beats similar to many other black metal songs, but slow down much of the time for a slower and less hammering beat. The vocals are a cross between a grunt and a howl; not particularly evil sounding, more like the lamenting of a lost and ruined soul, cursing his utter damnation. In some ways, they remind me of Lifelover's late vocalist B. Black Hole Soul has a more deliberate introduction, and the chords used on it and the other songs produce a rough, somewhat scratchy harmony. The guitar work keeps the rather long tracks interesting, dominating them with more melody than one would normally expect, until the somewhat similar Liberation and As Lightning From Heaven arrive with still better and more complex melodies. Every so often BRF starts up another riff that sounds like it's going to be a copy of the preceding one, but changes it subtly to something completely different.

The guitar solos on several of the tracks, though short, are in keeping with their music -- raw, screechy, and utterly enjoyable in their melody. Well actually, Black Hole Soul's and As Lightning From Heaven's particular solos are cleaner, done by guest musician Shoo with a NWOBHM flair, but still have a similar feel to the one on Liberation. The album ends with Circle of Resurrection, a stomping beat with BRF's chords cascading over the music, broken partway through by a faster, rushing series of passages filled with double-kick drumming and mad tremolo picking. I didn't care so much for the slower part at first, but just the fast part alone makes this one of my favorites on the album.

On Death's Wings is a fairly short album, but it has some great tracks on it, and nobody can say this isn't raw enough, even though it has excellent melody throughout and doesn't sound like it was recorded inside of a tin can. Fans of traditional black metal will definitely enjoy this.

Killing Songs :
Liberation, As Lightning From Heaven, Circle of Resurrection
Andy quoted 80 / 100
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