One thing that can no longer be said about the North American black metal scene is that it is mediocre and derivative. Every year, there are more and more bands releasing records from this continent that have every bit as much passion and ferocity as their European counterparts. Take Canada’s Éohum, for example. Formed in 2010, Éohum pen odes to traditionalism and environmental decay, not unlike some of the pagan-leaning themes of the Scandinavian black metal bands. The music they create runs the gamut of sounds, with traditional black metal, folk, doom, progressive metal, and even percussive sections that border on industrial.
This year’s Ealdfaeder continues along that path, with some truly ferocious black metal that mixes just about every sound you’ve probably ever heard on a black metal release. On paper, that sounds like it could come off as a real clusterfuck of noise, but the band’s ability to transition between different styles is truly awe-inspiring. Take “Ode To A Martyr” for example; speedy black metal riffs give way to folk metal sounding keyboards, followed by a slowed down, sludgy riff that comes off as a mix between industrial metal and doom. The tin whistle heard throughout “Eurocide” gives the song an extra boost in the atmosphere department, simultaneously making the song slightly eerie sounding, as well as giving it a folk metal edge. “The Apathetic Plague” is a real standout, upping the ante on speed, brutality, and technical ability, with numerous time-changes.
If you like your extreme metal a bit experimental, give Ealdfaeder a spin; the mixture of black metal, folk, prog, and loads of atmosphere make this a release that reveals something new with each listen. Éohum have a bright future ahead of them, so keep an eye out for them!