What can you expect to hear from a British band that takes nerdism to the extreme with Tolkien themed lyrics growled over folk laden, atmospheric black metal? Well, if Old Forest’s latest release “Dagian” is any indication of what to expect, epic-ness is the clear result.
Veterans, Old Funeral achieve an almost Eastern European folk/pagan metal sound and show clear influence from bands like Drudkh or Walknut. Patience is key when listening this album. The slow build up from the sounds of nature to gloomy blackened ambiance is worth waiting for. The addition of the flute in track one is mesmerizing. Like a Greek epic, each track on Dagian builds off of the other. The first two tracks, Morwen and Non, are more up-tempo and complex. Since both tracks are over ten minutes in length, there is room for many different progressions within each track. These tracks act as a sort of a journey to a more somber place in the middle of the album through the end.
Track three, Tweoneleoht, acts as sort of a ballad, dreamy and ambient, with beautifully melodic breaks. At this point in the album, the band deviates into a sort of black gaze reminiscent of Agalloch or November’s Doom. Old Forest adds a unique touch of the flute to differentiate themselves. The risk of adding clean vocals also worked in the band’s favor. Kobold’s versatile vocals range from haunting to demonic, and the clean vocals are powerful and hypnotizing.
The final track, Neaht, concludes the album in true Burzum fashion, with long, atmospheric feedback. Despite the track’s single, whirring hum, it never bores. Five minutes in, flutes whistle in the background. It continues this minimalistic and genius progression throughout the track ending the saga on a somber note. Originality is the word to describe this Old Forest release. The band takes risks and succeeds to create a truly breathtaking Tolkien-esque narrative. This is definitely an album to look for in 2016.