Shhhh... You hear that, child? That is the sound of one man, lone against the world, banging his weapon against the drums, howling at the sky for blood. That man is Nalfein, the artist called Svalblod, and he is welcome in these hallowed halls. Im Wald which means In The Forest is an astounding first release for a solo artist. Melodic black metal with folk and atmosphere bound to it, these album thrums and grooves like a wicked storm.
Beginning with an end, The Death of a Wanderer blows in on an ill wind not long until the electricity begins to flow, surging to a riff filled exit. Off To Mithril Hall where Svalblod keeps a killer pace until it slowly winds down. Next, we have Zirael, starting off with some simple guitar strings, this piece explodes into a wild ride that makes you shout along as the name is called, ZIR-EA-EL!!! Fog on the Barrows is a change, that slow, sorrow strum that seems to span across fields and mountains, a slow fog creeping across remains with whispers. Lastly, split into three parts, Autumn. Part I follows the sorrow from the previous, a heavy piano beckoning one to The Tomb of My Lost and Beloved. Part II (myyyy favorite track after so many listens) starts off with a deceptive wail as it screams into existence. However, In Lonesome October is quite the treat where at the 1:45 mark this piece grows into something so much more, so alluring and haunting. Great riffs and change ups really show the prowess of this artist as his vocals and instruments work in riveting harmony. Finally, As Grey Skies Weep Over the Forests, we reach that precipice which is the end. A track full of sullen strength, we journey along as Svalblod howls amidst great death.
This is a masterful release, truly. The amount of effort and energy poured into Im Wald is absolutely awe inspiring. I know I showcase Black Metal a lot but it is due to individuals like Nalfein that I find myself compelled to share such a gift. So, with this album to carry us into the week, let this be a reminder. Take a chance, do the work, follow that wild dream, fore there may be only a few that appreciate your work (or many) however it will mean worlds to those who lack the skill or drive to channel their sorrows and hardships. Cheers to Svalblod on this epic creation, and to you, for giving him and I the chance to bring something different to your day. /,,/
I happen to recognize many references to The Witcher when researching some of the names and anyone who appreciates that series is a welcome addition in my life. Also, look up Gwynbleidd if you want an artist fueled by The Witcher lore and who has some epic tracks (Blackened Folk Metal greatness... and they need to make more!)
THE MAD BARRON
The Source Of The Metal