An album with a story is almost always more compelling when you have a slight idea of what’s going on even when you cannot understand a single word that’s being said, and it’s in the realm of black metal that it can be taken to a truly glorious extent. Blend it together with a paganistic, folktale-like backdrop and how could you possibly go wrong? It is with their third full-length album that Ungfell tackles such a concept to tremendous effect as it’s in these eight fresh tracks that the Swiss act has truly outdone themselves.
When the folktale influences are all but in your face for the whole of an album, it tends to be that the album in question is quickly shaping up to be a work that will be quite tasteful by many different standards, but it is here in particular that Ungfell has really transcended that whole idea. Right from the beginning, “Es grauet” sets the tone for the entirety of the album to take place perfectly in a pre-modern village with a hidden evil that is slowly creeping its way further in, and it’s through pristine execution that Ungfell brings it to life gorgeously via immense musicianship and an understanding of what they’re going for to quickly make these eight tracks an absolute monster of an album that one cannot simply wretch themselves away from. Driven by truly massive riffage, a grand intoxication factor that sets its hooks into you since the very beginning, the interludes that play a way bigger role than I think most of us would ever suspect, and a tremendous presence that is beyond fitting for this kind of album, “Es grauet” is more than intriguing right from the get-go as it instantly sets itself apart from the black metal scene at large with a distinct sound and fire that’s woven into each note such that when the record comes to an end we’re all but compelled to dive back in so that we can experience that glory even just one more time. It’s one of the best kinds of immersive since I can practically see the fires of paganism before my eyes as “Es grauet” proceeds from one track to the next, and it would be no understatement to say that Ungfell delivered it downright masterfully.
Local tales are far from an uncommon topic for any kind of black metal band to tackle, but it’s with bands like Ungfell that we see the idea taken to a tremendous extent with the resulting material being no less than tantalizing. I better see plenty of people talking about this release upon its arrival for it is the whole of “Es grauet” that is more than deserving of any attention that it receives, and possibly even more.
“Es grauet” releases on April 30th via Eisenwald!
LISTEN to advanced tracks from “Es grauet” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Ungfell on Facebook here.