Project Renegade – Order of the Minus
Almost in an intrinsic way, Fellwarden drops some of the heaviest atmospheric black/folk metal one could ask for in 2020. With their second album, Wreathed in Mourncloud, Fellwarden has stepped up to the plate and released an incredibly powerful and moving album.
There’s a simplistic beauty within Fellwarden’s scope: it all feels natural. Wreathed in Mourncloud is not overwhelmingly produced, however it does not skimp out. The opening track, Pathmaker, establishes the tone for the rest of the album. The vocals sit in the background with the wall of sound wrapping around your ears. The choruses are melodic and both rise and fall with grace. If anything, there’s a familiarity with how the songs are structured; it’s as if I’ve heard catches and hooks before and they’re surrounded with something I’ve previously experienced. Some moments are almost stereotypical where one can predict how the song is going to go, yet it does so with such grace that it doesn’t really matter.
The songs on the album feels to be a mix between Panopticon and Borknagar but such comparisons really do not give them justice.
Moments such as the moody bass tones near the end of Scafell’s Blight stand out as interesting breathing moments to an intense soundscape. The chorus of the title track is another stand out moment where waves of feelings are brought to an already pulse-pounding track.
The natural sounds from the recordings certainly shine through the entire album and feels like they come to a worthy climax in the final track, Upon Stone. It was as if the whole album built for it. Upon Stone’s final few minutes feels like an old friend saying goodbye for the last time.
Some of the more interesting decisions on the album were how some of the vocal harmonies were recorded. As mentioned, the vocals at times felt tucked away in behind the music. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it – however there’s a small handful of moments I felt the drums could have taken a step back to let the harmonies shine. Yet, for black metal, the bass guitar chimes in when necessary and falls back when appropriate. It’s still a wonderful and smart mix.
Passionate, intense, brutal, and with a ton of heart, Fellwarden’s Wreathed in Mourncloud is an outstanding album that delivers on every level.