Colder than a deep freezer
Review by Paul Castles
Release date: Out Now
The chilling and overwhelming sense of darkness that envelopes Fuath’s album I marks this debut release as one of the year’s early standout albums.
What makes it all the more remarkable is that the whole shebang – composition, lyrics, instruments – is all the work of one man, Andy Marshall.
The Scot is something of a black metal scholar although his work here is considerably deeper than that of his other work with Celtic black metal act Saor.
Saor have more of a spring in their tartan step, while Fuath are painfully lacking in any warmth or soft textures. That isn’t to say that I does not feature some searing melodies, it certainly does. The opening nine-minute opus ‘In the Halls of the Hunter’ is a sweeping snowstorm of a track, all biting winds and shards of sonic ice.
But the whole tone of the album is one of angst, depressive sonic waves cutting through tortured and saddened souls.
At its most frightening, such as second number ‘Blood’ Fuath unleash a craggy rockface of abrasive riffs, harrowing melancholic passages, hypnotic angry double-kick drums which intertwined make for a cold tablet of doom.
Marshall’s vocals are spartanly used. But when his abrasive textured voice is given licence to proliferate it does so with maximum authority and to stunning effect with whispy, faded cries and at times seemingly ethereal groans.
Speaking of the album, Marshall declares black heart love for such names as Burzum and Darkthrone and fans of those iconic black metal names will find plenty of their energy in I. Certainly ‘Blood’ has that pained Burzum streak of solitude, ingratiating its way into your headspace.
‘Spirit of the North’ crawls by at a sedate pace, at 12 minutes the longest of the four tracks. The opening stages consist of a hauntingly bleak melody, the key thread accompanied just by a steady dissonant drumbeat.
Best enjoyed chilled and dark, there is still time to experience the full force of I before the first buds of Spring deliver shoots of warmth and comfort to help send Fuath’s jagged edges of stone scurrying back into the bleak beyond.
9 out of 10
- In the Halls of the Hunter
- The Oracle
- Spirit of the North