It’s no secret: I love me some black metal. But, even I have gotten tired of every other album we review being a product of the genre. And none of it is good. So, it’s no surprise that I have to ignore a large portion of the releases that sneak by our oh-my-god-I’m-so-sick-of-black-metal filters. Again, I love the genre and still listen to way more black metal than even the sickest doctor would dare prescribe. But many of the new black metal outfits just don’t do it for me. Instead, the classics continue to monopolize my listening time. So, when a new record comes along that catches my attention, it’s only right to bring it to everyone’s attention.

Before anyone accuses me of declaring England’s Cold Fell as the next best thing in black metal, let me be clear, their debut record Irwell is good but not great. Yet, in a slimy pool of mediocre black metal outfits, Cold Fell stands a head above the others. They have an old-school Norwegian style mixed with second-wave influences. They have riffs that tear through the blackened cosmos, while maintaining an independent feeling. Not to mention that their final product—Irwell—has the kind of dynamics most bands dream of. Each element on its own would be enough to get excited about. But, put them all together and you have something really worth spinning.

“Skull Crushed against Salford Cobblestones” gets things going in a rather violent hurry. As expected from the title, the opener is a relentless behemoth hell-bent on crushing not just skulls, but every bone in your worthless body. Thankfully, this brain-nutcracker resists the urge to do it with eight minutes of nonstop black metal tremolos and offbeat snare. Instead, the band uses a hefty Darkthrone-like introduction of guitar dissonance and marching drums before unloading hot tar on its listeners. Then it undergoes a post-black transition that shows off the band’s melodic side via haunting clean guitars. This song alone hints at the potential lying past the final exhale of the album’s front cover.

Closer “Dream of Seppuku” also takes advantage of its nine-minute length to unleash every nightmarish attitude possible. The song runs through typical black metal riffage, head-snapping death riffs, and even melodic Watain-like moments. The end, in particular, represents the song’s major highlight; venturing into the dark territories of Shining and Watain with its guitar and piano duet. Along with the closing pleas and screams, vocalist L (ex-Caïna) spreads out his attack, ranging from rasps to wails to bludgeoning barks.

The other songs snatch at a particular element and run wild with it. The sinister, mid-paced “Folly (Health and Glory)” takes to the shadows, stalking anything coming near its darkened alley. “Spleen i. (In Vino Veritas)” focuses on the most anxious, desperate emotion of Cold Fell‘s sound. This track remains consistent until “Spleen ii. (Bruised Like Fruit)” ruptures its predecessor all over the inside of its ribcage. Like “Spleen ii. (Bruised Like Fruit),” “Bone Ceiling” and “The Whip (Armed to the Teeth)” bash rather than soothe. The former unleashes a chorus riff fit for the stage-collapsing assaults of Gorgoroth, while the latter delivers a six-minute exercise on Watain worship. L even ventures from his typical black metal rasps to shout and scream at the world as only Watain‘s E. is capable.

Unfortunately, the back-to-back-to-back trio of “Folly (Health and Glory)” and the two “Spleen” numbers are the reason this album didn’t score higher than it did. The twelve minutes that these three songs inhabit are twelve minutes that I seem to forget no matter how many times I listen, which is a bummer, considering that the band appeared to have a plan with the “Spleen” duo. Other than that, the rest of the album sits somewhere between good and great. With “Bone Ceiling,” “The Whip (Armed to the Teeth),” and “Dream of Seppuku” being the highlights.

But the real highlights are the performances and the production. The guitars and drums are a tight-knit symphony of chaos; bashing and smashing into your brains at the same rhythm as an accelerated heartbeat. Every riff and blastbeat ring clear, exaggerated by the record’s dynamics. Irwell may not be a RotM contender, but it’s a menacing package delivered by a band with a truckload of potential.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Argento Records
Websites: coldfell.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/coldfellmanchester
Releases Worldwide: March 1st, 2017

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  • Imperator

    So underground you actually have to look to find a sample of their music. It was okay.

    • Feytalist

      Their Bandcamp has a previous demo. I had a listen to that. Actually really not bad at all.

    • Search for “Cold Fell Irwell streaming Skull Crushed Against Salford Cobblestones” or similar, and thou shalt find.
      EDIT: I also found Bone Ceiling on metalunderground dot com.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    would have sworn this was some basement-dwelling mathcore act going by that band photo but it would seem I am wrong

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, I had to double check that photo. It doesn’t fit the music.

      • basenjibrian

        Not all of us black metal fans look like ghouls!
        But yeah, the band photo suggests a soundtrack for a chess club meeting.

        • Seen them live – they did stick out slightly at a black metal festival. They played a good show though.

        • JeremyZero

          The fans don’t have to. I love BM, and look at my profile pic. But I think the bands should look like ghouls. Black metal is an inherently theatrical genre. The “punk”-ifying of it over the last few years is kind of lame.

          • herrschobel

            it has been punk in the beginning and its punk again….the circle is now complete…the theatrical part has always been the worst for me…then again..i am a Punk !

          • JeremyZero

            Was it punk in the beginning though, really? The early bands pretty much all at least did the corpse paint thing pretty quick, even Venom wore the leather and bullet belts and whatnot. It had a “punk spirit” for sure, but I’d argue that it’s always been theatrical.

          • herrschobel

            that’s what i meant… the punk spirit…Punk, as old Blixa Bargeld once put it, is all about spirit and attitude…the Looks just don´t matter–ideally…every Crust Punk wears a Bullet Belt by the way…it´s part of the Uniform…anarchy, chaos and a big ol’ Fuck you attitude…you know the drill ;-) … and even the early corspse paint was very sloppy and rough…but sure the theatrical thing has always been a thing…the Norwegian Boys around Helvete were just young antisocial fuck ups…so punks basically ;-)

    • Matus Dust

      He kind of reminds me of that kid from Deafheaven.

    • herrschobel

      Come gather around people
      Wherever you roam
      And admit that the waters
      Around you have grown

  • contenderizer

    “They have an old-school Norwegian style mixed with second-wave influences.”

    Old-school Norwegian = 2nd wave

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Sorta…

      • Wilhelm

        He’s telling the truth and is also pretty accurate.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Sorta.

    • herrschobel

      whats 1st wave then Herr Professor ?

      • contenderizer

        1st wave = 80s proto stuff like Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, etc.
        2nd wave = yr 90s Norge usual suspects & basically everything after: Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Emperor, friends & followers, etc.
        3rd wave = Deafheaven? [ducks out]

        • herrschobel

          i believe Deafheaven is Vaporwave…

          • Aguy

            It’s Dickgaze.

          • herrschobel

            lol…same thing from my perspective

          • DrewMusic

            Vaporwave is a joke, and more of an affront to the name of music than the (personally) recently discovered bastard genre ‘crunk-core.’ Zero originality, zero human emotion, zero compositional talent all throughout, the end result of a generation raised on drugs, screens and un-earned accolades. Also, soundwise it draws all of its (ugh) ‘influences’ from various bullshit soundbites of yesteryear, then sets them to some digitarded programmed ‘beat’ while purporting itself to be music, the final product being a completely automated heap of bullshit set to elevator jams and hipster irony far removed from anything remotely metal. At least Deafheaven are trying, and no matter how weak the result is it is still leaps and bounds away from the bastardry of which you spoke and of which I shan’t speak again.

          • herrschobel

            i know i know…don´t hit me please :-/

          • DrewMusic

            I’m expressing my rage à la internet, you’ll be fine. I just happen to know someone who ‘makes’ that shit and usually have to bite my tongue to keep their tiny little heart intact, that was partly therapeutic for me. I think we’re both better people for it.

          • herrschobel

            haha….great exercise ! you will be rewarded for your gentleness

          • DrewMusic

            Likewise, for not resorting to the typical bitchdom that plagues the rest of the internet, I reward thee:
            Behexen, Vredehammer, Belenos, and Subterranean Disposition
            All kickass bands recently revealed unto me by yet another angry metal commenter, keep the black circle spinning.

          • herrschobel

            ha ! will check them out asap. thanks you Sir !

  • Reese Burns

    Put me firmly in the camp of “never too much black metal”. I’ve been loving the past two months.

    • It seems like the problem is the review bin (and frankly I never understood the policy of only reviewing promos upon request–why not review the records you actually liked and enjoyed?!). There have been plenty of good/ great/ interesting BM releases already this year: Laster, Lorn, Turia, Au Champ Des Morts, Misthyrming/ Sinmara, Pillorian, Nidingr, Wiegedood, Uskumgallu and of course the Abigor/ NIghtbringer/ Thy Darkened Shade/ Mortuus split. I’m probably forgetting a few. I can barely keep up.

      • herrschobel

        agreed …

      • Reese Burns

        Frostriech and Violet Cold put out excellent releases so far this year, if you’re still looking for more to check out!

        • DrewMusic

          Yezzir, Magic Night is… I was gonna say stellar, but that seemed overly on the nose. Gonna have to check out Frostreich myself, but to you I recommend Ataraxie. Darker than VC by a shit ton, but superb. I’ve also been trying to push Metsatöll on anyone who will listen, though they aren’t blackened at all, just fanfuckingtastic Finnish/Estonian folk metal done right.

          • Reese Burns

            Thanks for the tip, I’ll check em both out!

          • DrewMusic

            It’s the way of the true metalhead. When you check out Metsatöll I strongly recommend starting with the video for Vimm, that’s what got me hooked. Their bassist is the man.

          • herrschobel

            thanks for bringing Ataraxie to my attention…top notch !

          • DrewMusic

            Thou art most welcome.

          • herrschobel

            hey i just stumbled upon a Band called Yellow Eyes….check em out….i like them quite a bit..

          • DrewMusic

            Well, I didn’t love them, but that endeavour ultimately lead me to a brand new Canadian black metal act going by NONE that I’m now digging the absolute fuck out of, so thanks! Thought counts, end result was more or less the same, erbody wins yo.

          • herrschobel

            can´t find that Band…link ?

          • DrewMusic

            Well, I had replied with a posted link and some vocalized dubiousness as to whether or not I was allowed to even do so. The link is gone, think I got my answer. If you search ‘Canadian depressive black metal none’ on the youtubes, though, their song Wither should be the first result that pops up. Currently it’s at all of 164 views.

        • herrschobel

          never heard of violet cold before…man ! what a great project !

          • Reese Burns

            Violet Cold are pretty prolific too, so if you like what you hear, there’s plenty of rad stuff in their back catalogue to dig into!

      • DrewMusic

        I don’t claim to understand or even necessarily enjoy the way the AMG promo bin works, but in a way I also dig the fact that I very seldom read reviews here about albums or even bands that I was previously aware of. The whole site is basically a TYMHM for me, and I always kind of felt like that was more of what they were going for here.
        Or hey, who knows, maybe it’s just cheapest/easiest to do it this way and they simply don’t care what any of us think. Either way, in Angry Metal Guy we trust, my two cents put the status quo as being just fine.

      • If all the reviewers covered records they enjoyed the site would be all 4.0s and 4.5s and we would never discover any new acts. We try to keep a mix of assignments and personal selections.

        • DrewMusic

          What y’all do 100% works. This is one of the only websites I frequent, and the only reason I have a Disqus account (I don’t have a Facebook or any other social media, I hate roughly everyone on the planet.) You truly are some of the only humans doing anything right on the internet, don’t change a thing.

  • Madame X let you review something involving Caina? Hmm, that’s concerning.

  • herrschobel

    they are from Manchester AND on a Label called Argento Records…makes me very curious

  • JeremyZero

    At this point in my black metal listening career, I’ve decided to go full grumpy old bastard. No corpse paint, no spikes? NO LISTEN.