(Over in the list of Categories on the right side of the page, I’ve kept alive one called “Phro’s Posts“, hoping that one day our old friend would come back to us — and so he has. Here’s Phro’s review of the new album by New Jersey’s Windfaerer.)
Tenebrosum, Windfaerer’s newest album, is seven tracks of pure frigid despair that could be summed up with three adjectives: Melancholy, punishing, and fierce. When you get the album on September 22 (which you absolutely must, whether you think you like black metal or not), wait for a cold, rainy day to listen to it. Tell everyone to leave you alone for an hour and grab your best headphones, preferably a pair with a relatively flat but accurate frequency response. Find an empty room with a single window, turn out all the lights, and sit in the grey light of the afternoon. Then, press play and close your eyes.
The plane rattles with the kind of turbulence you’ve only seen in movies. Smoky clouds whip by the windows and the sobs of terrified passengers fill the cabin. Alarms blare for a moment and then everything disappears…
When you open your eyes, you’re neck deep in snow. The wreckage of your plane writhes a hundred meters away, hungry flames licking at the cabin. The shrieks of someone dying reach your ears before falling silent a moment later when the fire stretches out and engulfs the plane’s skeletal remains.
Hulking clouds blot out the sky and sharp flecks of snow begin to fall. Scrambling to the plane, you ignore the snow gnawing on your bare skin, but fire pushes you away, your skin recoiling from the flames.
In the morning, your only companions will be the scorched remains of your fellow passengers.
This is the soundtrack to a trek across the Siberian wilderness after a plane crash. The music of a lone survivor wandering (hopefully) south, leaving behind hundreds of bodies burned and torn apart by the force of a jet flinging itself into the ground at terminal velocity.
The violin swings between surefooted melodies and screeching wails, alternating between hope and despair, struggling through the searing Northern winds heavy with ice. The thud of the bass drum is the slap of your frozen boots on the ground, the snare the crackling of snow under foot. The guitars are the hungry growls of wolves hunting you through the night.
The roars of the vocalist echo in your ears like the screams of the dying as blizzard winds tear at your eyes. Rising and falling, the voice fights to be heard through the instruments, your struggle for survival in the driving snow and cudgel-like wind.
The darkness breaks as long, thin strands of sunlight slip through the clouds, parting the sky like a scalpel. The ice tears at your face and the wind growls in your ears. A melody floats on the wind, the memory of a warm hearth beckoning you home.
A lone wolf, stalking you through the night, howls somewhere. Exhaustion and frostbite leave your body begging to give up, to let the mutt eat its fill. But the light on your skin doles out meager hints of home. That melody spins its way through the moaning wind, and you put one foot in front of another.