Sunday 23 March 2014

Charnel Winds - Sound of Satan's Voice Tape

Amongst the heaving mass of Norwegian and US black metal, there are other countries who make theirs equally as good. Finland is one such country, as past reviews featuring Pantheon of Blood and Forgojrd will attest. Charnel Winds have something in coming with former of those two bands, as both bassist Desolation and vocalist Wyrmfang also form part of Pantheon of Blood.

Sound of Satan's Voice was Charnel Wind's last release in 2013, which saw the light of day via Saturnian Productions (who later re-named themselves Saturnal Records). The rest of the band, completed by drummer Profundis, guitarists V.R. and Sandh, as well as guitarist/vocalist Shu-Ananda are all vastly experienced musicians in their own rights as well. Charnel Winds are a mysterious band, having kept their online profile low and playing selected live shows.

1. Avitchi Blues
2. Atmasphere
3. Rebellion
4. The Abyss Gazes Also

It’s bizarre to think that a black metal band would incorporate obvious blues influences into their music, but Charnel Winds do that here with Avitchi Blues. Their blues actually fits the music really well, amongst the melody of the guitars, the orchestral elements and the harsh vocals. Avitchi Blues doesn’t hold the usual blood and thunder you’d expect from black metal and it’s pretty up-beat, with subtle histrionics giving it an edge. The mix of low growls, high-pitched screams and semi-clean vocals add variety. I guess the variation is one thing that draws me towards Finnish black metal.

Guitar-led ambience breaks things up before Atmasphere features an incredible piece of lead guitar work and has a more progressive feeling to. That lead guitar work is a feature throughout the song and while it’s mid-paced in it’s delivery, the guitar keeps it interesting. Coupled with the more prominent bass tones, it certainly gives a more experimental feel to the tape.

Rebellion seems to incorporate war-metal into it’s structure, favouring more semi-clean vocals and doom-like riffs. I’m not sure what to think about the vocals here myself, as sometimes they can seem off-key but I’m detracting from the overall music at all. The drums provide an exhilarating change of pace, with plenty of drum-fills and when couple with the biting screams, are perfect.

By far Chanel Winds most progressive and expansive song on Sound of Satan’s Voice, The Abyss Gazes Also replenishes the notion that this band are definitely not your archetypal black metal band. It’s dark in places but at other points it seems to feature operative elements. I know that extreme metal has often borrowed strains and influences from classical music, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. The Abyss Gazes Also ploughs along with oft changing time-signatures and off-kilter passages. 

Overall Sound of Satan’s Voice is a real surprise. The four songs contained within the single-sided tape are hard to categorise and have more artistic merit within then than you might expect. Praise be to them. Now, go forth and continue your musical education via the help of Finland’s black metal brethren.

Charnel Winds only Internet presence is their website - More information on the band can be found via their Metal Archives entry here -

There are no copies left at Saturnal Records but you get copies from Glorious North Productions -

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