Country: Italy
Title: The Burning Bridges
Label: Cult of Parthenope
Year: 2020
Style: Black Metal

At first I thought this is going to be an Irish band, mislead by the band name, but it turns out it's actually a J.R.R. Tolkien inspired term meaning "forest between rivers", and the band is a one man operation from Italy founded in 2016, with a first album out in 2018 on Dusktone, and here presenting the second opus in form of a limited edition Double Digipak CD. The whole material doesn't last for more than 50 minutes, so normally one is puzzled by the decision to release it in Double CD format, but when you get to the audition it finally makes sense (well, it's also that the first CD is actually the band's debut demo from 2016, Randir, and the second CD is made of probably new tracks). The first 4 tracks, part of the Rendir demo, are fast and sombre Black Metal with pounding drumming, a versatile guitar work that assembles elements from old-school Black Metal, current Black Metal, Atmospheric Black Metal and even some hints of Thrash Death, with occasional melodic inserts onto the leads. Not extremely impressive I'd say, but fairly well composed and executed, this until you get to the last track on this CD, La chiusura del cerchio, which is a triumph of catchy, headbanging, infectious, angry and melodic Black Metal, by far the track that stands out even if it's more than 8 minutes long! The second set of tracks, collectively titled Bare Boughs, 7 in number, are a totally different breed, a calm, melancholic, accessible NeoFolk made on acoustic guitars, percussion and violin, that reminds me of Aggalloch or Tenhi. Really beautiful, enchanting music that gives you the urge to play it somewhere surrounded by nature, but in this case I feel it lacks a but more catchiness, some hooks to stick to your mind even after the audition. All in all it's a great idea to have the two sides separate, and it also gives the impression you're getting more for your bucks, from this point of view it's absolutely top notch, go for it.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10