Forgive my ignorance but the Italian metal scene is an area that I have greatly ignored in all the years that I’ve been listening to metal. Naturally my attention has been drawn to to the phenomenal output from Scandinavia and (in recent years) Eastern Europe, so it is always pleasing to discover other European bands bringing their twisted brands of extreme metal. Could Hornwood Fell’s sophomore album “Yheri” raise the profile of the Italian extreme metal underground?
Opening track Walking in the woods begins with a brief, eerie backwards guitar intro before commencing into a traditional black metal feel, with vocal shrieks and clean passages that could easily be mistaken for Ihsahn. Not ground-breaking in originality but the production allows the old school influences to take on a more modern feel and a strong opener nonetheless.
The clean vocal sections and changes in dynamics make this far from being a one dimensional black metal album, and there is a lot more than meets the eye to this album upon first listen. I actually found myself not listening to this as separate songs upon repeated listens, and it would be an injustice to this embodiment of work to dissect it track by track. A crucial aspect for concept albums to work is the way in which they flow, and here the pummelling drum work and dissonant guitars of the Basilia brothers intertwine seamlessly with the chillingly atmospheric haunting sections. This kind of interplay can only be achieved by musicians that have been playing together for years, and this album has an abundance of groove – a word not often associated with this genre.
Marco demonstrates some beautiful nylon string work on instrumental These trees are watching, blending a strong sense of melody and dissonance in equal parts. His ability to do so is the cornerstones for this album’s success, in creating soundscapes of such depth that keep the listener fully attentive throughout.
As I said earlier this album deserves repeated listens, and I think it’s safe to say this album is going to be rotating heavily on my speakers in the coming winter months. This is a strong second album and from now on I shall be watching this band (and the Italian extreme metal scene) closely.
Reviewed by: Ian Guest.