HORNWOOD FELL – HORNWOOD FELL

Rating: 4.5/5
Distributor/label: Self Released
Band Website: www.hornwoodfell.bandcamp.com
Released: 2014

hornwood fellBand line-up:

Marco Basili guitars/voice,
Andrea Basili Drums,
Andrea Vacca Bass

Tracklistings:

1. Cerqua
2. Tempesta
3. Meca
4. L’ira
5. Mutavento
6. VinterFresa part 1
7. VinterFresa part 2

Review:

There are three elements that make a great black metal record: Atmosphere, Songwriting and Passion.

Hornwood Fell’s debut album ticks all those boxes. This is a stunning record, combining the traditional sound of second era black metal with modern day technical ability and song writing.

While there are lots of new “black metal” bands that are causing a lot of hatred in the “Trv kvlt” crowd for trying to advance the genre without acknowledging their key influences (I won’t name names, but I’m sure you can guess) I feel that Hornwood Fell are very grounded in their roots with this record, but avoid becoming a carbon copy of second wave greats. Their sound is most definitely theirs.

The album opens with the song Cerqua. No ambient keyboard/instrumental sections to start this record, H.F. steam roll full blast with frantic tremolo picked guitars, relentless blast beats and grim, throat choked vocals. The first thing that hits me is the sound of this record! It sits in the beautiful middle ground of not being overly polished and soulless, but not unnecessarily raw and inaudible.

And it’s a good thing too, because it really allows H.F. to shine through with their songwriting: The guitar riffs incorporate interesting melodic movement, and while bring impressively packed with a multitude of different sections, the transitions are seamless. The vocals are grim, strangled, tortured, and full of passionate fire. The bass strays away from the generic black metal trait of being completely inaudible and only following the guitar riffs, to instead add counter melodies, harmonies and parts that dare I say groove in some aspects of this record. The drums are nonstop, tight, precise, and fill out the entire record with technically proficient blasts and raw grooves without detracting from the overall sound.

If I was to criticise one thing on this album (which believe me, I found hard to do), it would be that the vocals do not provide much variety, never straying far from the throat choked black metal snarl. This does not by any means ruin the record, and I believe the vocals are very well executed in that style. However it would have been interesting to see some variation to match with the instrumental sections.

From the beginning of this album to it’s climax H.F do not let up with their unrelenting aggression and impeccable songwriting. With every aspect there is a well thought out contrast, the melodic guitar lines giving the dissonant harmonies more distinction, the blasts are paired with thumping hypnotic grooves.
They keep things fresh by throwing in atmospheric interludes and erie acoustic passages at the ends of songs, giving a great polarity to the main bulk of this monster. As well as songs like Meca and Mutavento, that clock in at longer lengths then some of the other tracks on the album, sees H.F really show off their talent to create strong sections of songs that meld together, build tension and succeed in not becoming repetitive and tiresome.

While the whole record is worth a listen, stand out tracks for me are: Meca and Cerqua. Expect big things from Hornwood Fell.

Reviewed by Danny Page
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