Hornwood Fell is a band that answers the call when asked about how black metal can be contemporary and relevant now in a dense genre. Hornwood Fell combine styles of traditional Norwegian black metal as well as newer even progressive elements. With both of those combined, Hornwood Fell release their second full length titled Yheri. Yheri is an eight track album that takes you through dense and bleak soundscapes, painting pictures of dismal cold and sanity breaking isolation.
Not only do they break your will with a powerful and technical onslaught of visceral black metal, but they sew in some other interesting elements as well that elevate Yheri into a more refined and progressive state of mind.
Through the album you experience the typical thick poison fog of bleak black metal. On the other side of the token you get elements of atmosphere and even clean singing at points.
Now again, a lot of you probably read “clean singing” and dismiss it immediately but that is one of the last things that should happen. The clean singing that is injected into each song is sparse and when it does make an appearance it adds an almost haunting feeling. There are a lot of different aspects that are at play within Yheri to create such a sound, and there are a lot of different moving pieces that come together very well in this sophomore effort.
The very first thing that you hear is the fact that the harsh and punishing black metal aspects are there and ever present. Hornwood Fell is blistering in their approach and forever relentless in their attack. But with the blazing hell fire comes a little bit of reprieve when they decide to dial it back a little bit in each song and take a more melodic and atmospheric approach.
During the majority of the songs on Yheri, Hornwood Fell slow it down and allow the clean vocals as well as melancholy guitar work to take over. Those atmospheric elements only last so long however as they pick it back up to burn you at the stake with their intense style of chaotic black metal.
Yheri whips around you in dizzying fashion with high energy slashing riffs, acrobatic drumming, smooth bass lines and even more intricate and slick guitar work when the songs break into the more atmospheric parts. Vocals transition between high pitched screeches and painfully depressing cleans.
Hornwood Fell does a great job of making you feel violated one moment with blissfully dark black metal and sullen and depressed the next with haunting cleans and melancholic breaks. Yheri is a great listen and supplies you with a lot of music and a lot to chew on with eight songs in the release and would be a good addition to any black metal collection.