Album Review: Firelink – The Inveterate Fire 10 (Black metal)

Written by Carcassbomb

  • Firelink
  • The Inveterate Fire
  • Melodic Black Metal
  • USA
  • 2019
  • 10/10

Bandcamp

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.

Artwork by Luke Oram

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 a duo as well which is crazy because it sounds so dense and elaborate.

This isn’t the first Dark Souls metal band but 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 people’s socks off, it sounds like a story being told with patience. It has parts 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 nice treatment that I will be treasuring for quite some time. There’s that level of composition, storytelling 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 (Firelink has that similar level of density, melody and long form storytelling). They simply revisit an underrated subgenre with more maturity than cheese and bring it to the modern age.

The highlight for me is the guitar work which draws 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 positioned properly.

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 and even non metal genres . 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 theatrics and showmanship.

The way they’ve handled the themes is well done, a lot of it is lyrical 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 natural that the modern age should have bands with modern source material.

It’s a really easy listen. Some black metal gatekeepers might disagree with me and that’s fine, the score simply represents what’s in my heart and mind, or lack thereof, depending on my hollowing status.

Firelink are on insta: @firelinkofficial

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