Sunday, October 21, 2007

Our Warcry Fills The Sky, The Glorious Falcon Flies

On Slechtvalk's third outing the band takes another turn towards a viking metal sound as well as losing the heavy symphonic sound of their earlier works. That's not to say the keyboards are not present, but they are used mostly to thicken the sound and enhance the viking choruses and folk styles.

With each album Slechtvalk gets stronger and better. "Falconry" was a good debut, "The War That Plagues The Land" continued the strong song writing and with the addition of a band the music did not sound as manufactured. With "At The Dawn Of War" the production is great and the music is melodic and memorable and brutal and dark.

The album begins with the bard-like medievally folk tune "From Out Of The Mist We Came Forth". The acoustic guitars and wood winds create an authentic mood for this album of battles and spoils. That's the biggest thing I noticed here, the absence of their (or at least Shamgar's) Christian leanings and instead focuses on the brutality of war with fairly realistic vividness.

After a haunting, eerie intro "Call To Arms" blasts into us with fierce black metal (again with strong influences of newer Antestor). It's a epic song with haunting interludes and Viking majesty. "The Spoils Of Treason" is the other epic majestically Viking tune and not only is it my favourite track here, but also my favourite Slechtvalk song in their catalogue. Much like "My Last Call" from "T.W.T.P.T.L" it is rhythmically bleak with majestic atmospheric viking influenced black metal. With huge choir choruses and brilliant and moving guitar work "The Spoils Of Treason" shows victories dark side.

"Mortal Serenity", "Besieged" and "Thunder Of War" are solid black metal songs straight forward and brutal each with their unique blends of soprano/choir vocals to create some atmosphere. "Mortal Serenity" has a dark killer riff in the last bit of the song.

"Desertion" is a fast brutal black metal song with an acoustic interlude, and "Black Raven Death (or Dead)" is pummelling with dark, sinister and haunting overtones. "On The Eve Of Battle" is melodic and hooky and moving with some nice piano.

"Under A Moonlit Sky" closes the album with folk like symphonic black metal and is melodic and rhythmic. It is a little throw back to old Slechtvalk sound and although it is a good song, it does feel a little out of place. That's just a minor critique though.

"At The Dawn Of War" in my opinion is Slechtvalk's best album and I love the melodic brutality. I'm looking forward to this band's future work.

Up next I'm going to finish off the album catalogue of doom/death metal band Paramaecium. Feel free to get a jump on them by reading my first posting on their first full length album "Exhumed Of The Earth".



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