Firelink – The Inveterate Fire [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Firelink - The Inveterate Fire 01I know I owe a debt of gratitude to one of the commenters here for guiding my ship inevitably towards this record, but I wasn’t paying attention at the time so I’m taking credit for it instead. I also took it upon myself to foist it upon my unsuspecting Angry Metal Mates with the byline, “Hey, so, Dark Souls black metal?” And now I give it back to you—Firelink’s The Inveterate Fire.

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, the duo peddle the finest wares of the melodic black metal persuasion. Woven deeply into their abyssal constructs is a red-blooded passion for the Dark Souls video game series rife with metallic imagery ideal for musical adaptation. It’s difficult to draw comparisons because their method of execution is so varied and vivid, but I hear inklings of WormwitchThe Black Dahlia Murder, and Oubliette. The quality of the music, however, is straight-up fire.

In their infinite wisdom, Firelink opens their debut with the shortest and most immediate track, “Vessel of the Primordial Serpent.” A strong set of riffs and fantastic structuring allows the song to rush in one ear and lodge itself in the brain for eternity. Then, the band pulls out a monolithic slow burn in the form of “Kindled.” And that’s when the real magic begins! Ordering the first two tracks this way ensures that you don’t immediately lose interest when the album takes a few steps back for a while. Instead, you see it through until that magical moment wherein a sublimely integrated sample from the Lothric, Younger Prince boss fight in Dark Souls 3 calls the song back to life as a rampaging meloblack monster. Riveting songwriting like this is the band’s modus operandi and their highest stat. One moment Firelink thrashes along at a fevered pace, relaxing the next with a restful interchange between bass and lead guitars, when suddenly a boisterous major-chord romp surges to the fore (“Beckoning Sun”). The effect is ambrosial to say the least.

 02One concern I have encountered as it regards audience enjoyment is whether knowledge of the Dark Souls series is necessary to “get” The Inveterate Fire. Fret not, friends. This record spins just fine for n00bs. I suspect that the band anticipated this contingency and compiled the story such that it shines independent from the source material. Worst case scenario: you simply inject yourself as the main character and experience the album from that perspective.

Any way you slice it, The Inveterate Fire is a joy to experience, and easily qualifies as essential listening. Even in this year, which has been more than kind to us filthy humans as far as black metal is concerned, Firelink stand tall in the crowd with a left-field entry—and a debut to boot—stuffed with quality music and literally nothing else. Rise, if you would, for Firelink is our blessing.

Tracks to Check Out: “Vessel of the Primordial Serpent,” “Kindled,” and “Beckoning Sun”

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