Monday 13 May 2019

Ulvdalir - ... Of Death Eternal

Labels: Iron Bonehead Productions
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 28 Nov 2018


1. Intro
2. Awakening
3. Black Flames Of Will
4. Swords Of Belial
5. Birth Of The Beast
6. Music Of Cold Spheres
7. Eternal Angel Of Death Eternal
8. Outro

The upward trajectory of black and death metal bands from the Eastern block shows no sign of stopping. Having recently featured both Siculicidium (Romania) and Malokarpatan (Hungary) in recent posts, next on my list was Russian duo Ulvdalir. Forming in St. Petersburg in 2001, the duo has three full-lengths as well as various EPs and splits. "...Of Death Eternal" is their newest (and fourth) full-length and has been released via Iron Bonehead Productions. Ulvdalir form part of the True Ingrian Black Metal Death circle with lablemates Khashm and also Likferd. 

This release may have been missed by many, due to its digital release coming late last year and its physical release coming towards the end of January, so it’s a perfect time to get acquainted with it if you’ve overlooked it. The Intro to “…Of Death Eternal” sets the ominous tone with unsettling ambience and choral singing. Awakening is Ulvdalir’s first full song on the album and its pummelling percussion and dissonant yet majestic guitar work creates quite a spectacle, while the vocals are delivered via a mix of low shrieks and maddening mid-range cries. The key factor here is that the duo’s compositions are lengthy, allowing for greater realisation of their sound and musical approach.
Don’t let that put you off though, as it also means that they’re engaging in all the right ways.

There are some nice cascadian elements to Ulvdalir’s music, especially in the intro to Black Flame Of Will, though it isn’t long before they up the ante again. Even when they do, there’s more to their music than just black metal and by not settling for the necro sound of old, its more obvious. The bass guitar playing is well worth appreciating to as it feature higher up in the mix later on in the song. It’s very intricate and bluesy. War metal appears subtly on Swords Of Belial, though it isn’t overpowering and is only used minimally. The tempo is still high and the march of progress is unrelenting as Ulvdalir perform ever longer black metal hymns with a formula that mixes their black metal blueprint with punk and layers of progression. This is summed by the latter half of the song, which comes complete with more choral singing and a lengthy guitar solo amidst the wall of noise. 

Birth Of The Beast is a meatier proposition thanks to some chugging, big riffs and a more mid-tempo stomp. Don’t worry its not gone hardcore, but there is an element of that in here at times though I suppose its closer to old-school death due to the atmosphere created. It’s much of there same on Music Of Cold Spheres, which is rhythmically spellbinding with punk once again filtering through its evil undertones. Moments of tranquil guitar melodies and calmer passages help to break to the barrage and the further you get into the record, the more evident this duo’s instrumental and song-writing skill becomes. 

The ever repeating riffs during the verses (at the beginning) of Eternal Angel Of Death Eternal are claustrophobic but fantastic. They add to a song, which is off-kilter and terrifying in all the right ways. At nearly nine-minutes in length there’s a lot to take in and as its the last full song on “…Of Death Eternal”, it demands both more attention and appreciation. The Outro completes the record in the same way as it begun and is no less unsettling. That’s the thing about this album, yes its extreme but if you can see (and hear) past that then you’ll be rewarded with something truly musical that’s executed extremely well. Another great release from Iron Bonehead Productions and another band worthy of wider attention.

You can stream and purchase "...Of Death Eternal" on all formats below:-

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