I’ve reached a conclusion in recent times that the enjoyment gleaned from music at any particular time very much depends on my mood. I pick myself up by joining The Night Flight Orchestra; relax by basking in Mitch Murder‘s warm glow; wallow in self-loathing by screaming with Deadspace. While such a sentiment may seem obvious I also mean in a wider sense. My life was ebbing low at the turn of the year and I was finding new releases sincerely disappointing. But things improved by March and I was thrilled to re-emerge into the delight of arguably the best month of music since I started at AMG. While I stand by that comment I’m perfectly aware that it almost certainly reflects my new-found zeal.

However, Coldfells‘s self-titled debut first dispersed itself into my ears as I was held for 79 minutes between train stations as some poor bastard had jumped in the tracks. On the eve of 2 exams. I was not only in a shit mood but it was also the first disturbance of my fresh alacrity. I initially ascribed an unimpressive listen to these particular circumstances and resolved to give it more time, especially since the group shares personnel with the magical Nechochwen.

Coldfells carries across these blackened influences but is more largely derived from early 90s doom bands. It’s atmospheric like Anathema and Paradise Lost, similarly featuring prominent keys, choral backing and chunky, mid-paced riffs, though there are occasional accelerations to an angrier gallop. A mix of growls and cleans is preferred and both are relatively standard in execution. Diversifying this orthodoxy is the black metal which rears its head a few times per track, carrying out its tremolo-picked melodies slowly to fit with the prevalent doom. Fittingly, the production legitimately evokes the early 90s which is pleasingly nostalgic. Tones used are appropriately buzzing and the master is of the pre-Loudness War type (dynamic!). The bass is relatively light and the guitars are at the forefront of the mix.

It took a second listen but aspects did indeed engage me more. Of particular note are the tasteful solos which are surprisingly epic and not so surprisingly mournful and emotive. They’re distinguished from the impassive moroseness with which much of the music can be characterized by constructing affecting climaxes and are easily the most enjoyable passages. Furthermore, “The Sea Inside” opens with a pleasant chord progression and the riff around the 3:05 mark is probably the record’s strongest. The ensuing vocal melodies are the closest to catchy too, ensuring this track is Coldfells‘s peak.

The issue is that such occasional good ideas are distributed far too intermittently throughout. They almost stick out too much: they’re so infrequent they’re rendered mere additions to the dreary surrounding music rather than elevating the entirety. A sort of lethargy embeds within a few minutes and only these few snippets interrupt this. I acknowledge that there may have been strife towards an intentionally depressive atmosphere but most of this is just dull. Almost nothing is done to engage the listener on a minute-to-minute basis and where effort is made, it feels too minor a gesture.

Coldfells have begun their story with all the gloominess one could ever desire but it’s toothless experience. I’ve endeavored to give them a particularly healthy number of listens after those adverse preliminary surroundings but it still occupies the weaker end of the spectrum of music I’ve heard in March. Spacey and ambitious in its tying of older styles but lifeless and tedious in execution.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 11 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Label: Bindrune Recordings
Websites: www.facebook.com/coldfells | https://coldfells.bandcamp.com
Releases worldwide: April 1st, 2017

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  • $872 Australian dollars? I do get paid this week, but that’s pushing it.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      hmmm April fools joke?

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I’ve seen that with other bands in the past. Not sure what the game is. Maybe someone out there can enlighten us.

        • Dudeguy Jones

          Ive heard, and don’t quote me, that theres no way to put something up on BC without offering some sort of purchase option, whether a pre-order or otherwise.

          So bands make their price ridiculously high so that they can have the music up for streaming, but hopefully get the message across that this isn’t available to you. Yet.

          Most bands come around to lowering the price to a normal record price.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Thanks! Interesting.

    • METAL OTTER

      When you convert that to USD, it’s only the price of your infernal soul – a real bargain!

    • $666..

  • Luke_22

    I haven’t listened extensively but quite like what I’ve heard from this so far. Looking forward to hearing more and seeing if I wind up with the same conclusion or not, but early impressions were good for me.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Damn thats a gloomy read. Also did I not read on the AMG FB feed that one of the guys was in Obsequiae as well?
    Obsequiae ‘Age of…’. and Nechochwen’s ‘Heart of Akamon’ were two of my favourites from 2015.

    • El_Cuervo

      Ye they both made my list for that year! Shame.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        If not for Wilderun’s superb effort Nechocwan and Panopticon would’ve been equal No1 for me. Those 3 albums are still never far from the top of my recently played list.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Also, I’m glad to see the back of that back and bun! Give me a only welding goggle any day!

  • Sean Sky

    Is there gonna be a review for the new Fall of Rauros?

    • El_Cuervo

      Indeed

  • Danny

    The notion of blackened doom seems really interesting to me, but these kind of extended songs need engaging songwriting to be worthwhile, so this one sounds like a skip. That’s a shame.

  • GardensTale

    They took a whole 4 seconds of standing up from the couch for their band photo. Dedication.

    • mtlman1990

      Am I the only one who hates band photos all together? Surprisingly I find this simple photo way more tolerable than most.

      • [not a Dr]

        You are not alone: Thatguy despises band pictures with clinical precision.

  • pfk505

    Eh, whatever. Aaron Carey is one of those artists who can do no wrong, if you ask me. I’ll buy it anyway!

  • A Feed From Cloud Mountain

    Didn’t know Joe Rogan was into playing metal.

  • Wilhelm

    I’m a sucker for atmospheric doom and melodic black metal, and this hits all the right spots – the soft clean vocal part was a bit different but the composition, overall, is very good. I would say this song is a solid 3.5 alone for the DR11 and the excellent BM vocal delivery.

  • Thought the name was Coldfellas at first, like a movie about arctic gangsters or something.

  • Dudeguy Jones

    I, for one, freaking LOVE this album. I feel floored by it. Its not what I was expecting when previously hearing about it. And thats probably for the best.

    Anyway, this ones going to go down as a big one this year, for me.

  • GWW

    This is way better than a 2. It is more engaging than Pallbearer ever was. Some folks have no attention span at all. There are all sorts of subtleties layered in this record, little “piano” melodies, changes in atmosphere, changes in Guitar fuzz, vocals, changing up rhythms, killer triple lead guitar, all sorts of things. You have to live with this record awhile. Why does anyone give a fuck about a band photo ffs?! This is what they look like in a faceless world, next…