- The Inveterate Fire
- Melodic Black Metal
This one has straight exploded on me, I put off checking this out when I saw it posted everywhere because I thought it was going to be a standard fare of power metal. Well, after hearing it on a random shuffle list and looking at the artist, I was surprised to hear some classic sounding melodic black metal. Stuff I haven’t heard the sound of since I was a long haired teenager listening to Agathodomain and Empyrean. It’s Cradle Of Filth for those of us who mostly grew out of them, (Some tracks still go off tho, damn). The thing that really sells it for me is the theme of Dark Souls. Fuck yes, I’ve played and beat them all a dozen times over, I’ve seen the youtube videos about the lore and talked about it with friends and family whether they were listening or not. So this is the perfect record for me. This is just two guys as well which is crazy because it sounds so dense and elaborate.
I bet they listen to Bonfireside Chat podcast. Also the art is done by Luke Oram @luke_oram and he did well to get it as close to dark souls vibe without copyrighting. Really nice blending and warm style of art.
This isn’t the first Dark Souls metal band but for it’s certainly the first to give it the treatment it deserves. The composition of this album tells the stories of the souls universe and so rather than being music focused on generating a heavy sound to blow peoples socks off, it sounds like a story playing out. It has party of pure melody and parts of pure hell. Dark Souls is all about beauty and despair, ruination. These guys have approached it with the nerdy detail that many previous bands have done with Lovecraft or Tolkien. It’s a really nice treat that I will be treasuring for quite some time. This really is one of my favorite albums this year. There’s that level of composition, story telling and aesthetic that just pulls all together to create a really fleshed out metal record. It’s way more interesting than the current standard for black metal. They didn’t even have to experiment to subvert it, like Deafheaven or Drudkh (Firelink has that similar level of density, melody and long form story telling). They simply revisit an underrated subgenre with more maturity than cheese and bring it to the modern age. Similar to Tribulation‘s take on gothic metal with Down Below last year.
The highlight for me is the guitarwork with it drawing from so many classic sources of old black and heavy metal inspired riffs and solo work. I always enjoy when the solos kick in and I feel like it’s a part of metal that gets neglected a bit these days or at least not position as well as it has been in this composition.
The modern vibe of it all comes from the vocals and the Dark Souls theme. Vocally I’m hearing a lot of influences from various waves of black metal or other wise and even from metalcore. There’s a lot of range but it mostly respects the rules of melodic black metal with the long mourning growls. When the music reaches a hectic peak the vocals will jump out like skeletons dangling from a bridge. Fuck all of these guys who are saying to make black metal dangerous again, I say let’s make it nerdy again. That’s where black metal shines, dark story telling and instrumentation, theatrics and showmanship.
The way they’ve handled the themes is well done, a lot of it is lyric but there’s also the use of samples here and there from the game characters themselves. It’s clear that with the writing of this record, the Dark Souls lore was deeply considered and draws from plots and concepts of which there is evidence present within the game. This isn’t a gimmick, this is a respectful and artful work of music that uses a legitimately dark and mysterious universe to draw inspiration from. This is what all of those bands were doing in the 80’s with Lord Of The Rings, so it’s only naturally that the modern age should have bands with modern source material.
I absolutely love this record and any issues it could have are redeemed by so many other factors like being independent, being two guys and the commitment to story telling. This is the contender to beat for album of the year in 2019 as far as Noob Heavy is concerned. Seriously at about 7:15 on the track Beckoning Sun is a classic riff progression right out of 2001 melodic death metal and it sounds so fucking amazing with this mix and composition, then it’s immediately followed up with some low growls that threatened to almost breakdown into deathcore vocals for a moment with how deep it sounds.
It’s a really easy listen. A lot of metalheads will disagree with me and that’s fine, the score simply represents whats in my heart and mind, or lack thereof, depending on my hollowing status.
Firelink are on insta: @firelinkofficial