I’ve said it many times over the years and I will gladly say it yet again: one of my favorite parts about doing these reviews is coming back to bands that I’ve investigated before and then see them grow into their own in order to become something truly special. I could rail off a list of bands that fit that description, and Dwarrowdelf would absolutely be one of my greatest examples. This has been an act that I’ve loved since the first time I heard the single off his first album with it quickly becoming one of my favorites of that year, and it’s in the short two years since then that his sound has only gotten sharper and the quality has increased exponentially. I had high expectations with the likes of “Evenstar” upon the glorious news of its impending arrival, and it’s everything I could’ve asked for.
Tolkien has always played a large part in many sections of extreme metal whether people want to admit it or not, but it’s black metal that has taken that further than any other style with plenty of bands making it the core source of their material much like what Dwarrowdelf has does thus far and continues to do so here. But don’t let that make you think this work is unoriginal for it is anything but. Whereas Dwarrowdelf started as a very respectable and potent mixture of black and folk elements, it’s after an album of almost purely clean vocals and a gorgeous dungeon synth redux of his debut that his sound has become so refined and so packed full of flavor that it’s not out of the question to call the overall experience of “Evenstar” one of the most compelling works derived from Tolkien that we’ve gotten in years with everything else that Dwarrowdelf has done not far behind. Even going so far as to start incorporating perfectly implemented elements of melodic death metal into this already compelling concoction, Dwarrowdelf’s sound is quickly becoming something that cannot be considered anything other than titanic.
Being familiar with the lore really does enhance the experience of works like this, and I really do recommend doing so before diving in but given the sheer time investment needed in order to understand a lot of what’s happening across Middle-Earth, the Undying Lands, and everything in between it’s understandable why most won’t do that. But even without going above and beyond, even just having light knowledge of the main characters here is incredibly accessible because it’s a theme we’ve all seen: love. Boil it all down and this is a love story and it’s specifically of the one between Aragorn and Arwen, and it’s through “Evenstar” that Dwarrowdelf has given us material whose overall quality can likely only be topped by the genius that is Howard Shore, but even then, it’s between the stunningly gorgeous work that’s molded perfectly with the surprising intensity that makes “Evenstar” a unique but beyond fitting take on this small yet impactful part of Tolkien’s work. And there really is something for everything in every song. Whether you want to be lost in the beautifully done folk instruments, become enthralled by the calculated brutality, or allow your mind to be entranced by the heavy melodic elements that are constant at play throughout “Evenstar”, Dwarrowdelf has created a record that’s jam-packed with all of that and so much more such that by the time the record ends you’ll be scrambling to have more of it injected right into your fucking veins! It’s a record that’s destined to go down as one of the act’s best, and I’ll be damned before I let this go unheard by many, but, thankfully, it seems that the name of Dwarrowdelf has been spreading properly thanks to the generous gift of time.
This was one of those works that instantly caught my eye the moment it came into the public eye for obvious reasons, but few things could’ve prepared me for just how well “Evenstar” is pulled off. Really, I should be already conscious of what Dwarrowdelf is capable of at this point but it never ceases to astound me almost no matter what. This is an act that I can’t help but rant about at every given opportunity, and this is as good an opportunity as any. This is something that should absolutely be heard by anyone who’s even slightly into this kind of music for it’s beyond what many are to be expecting before diving into it, but “Evenstar” is more than filled with surprises to show us yet again that Dwarrowdelf is not to be underestimated in any capacity.
“Evenstar” releases on September 25th via Northern Silence Productions!
LISTEN to singles from “Evenstar” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Dwarrowdelf on Facebook here.