From the icy mountaintops of … France? Work with me here. I am describing a black metal album. Anyway, back to the review. Aurvandil is a French black metal/pagan metal band that has the aura of a Norwegian black metal band and paints the perfect atmosphere of what a traditional black metal sound truly is. While their latest effort, Yearning, does not deal with the same topics as traditional black metal or even traditional French metal bands, they paint their unique portrait of their version of black metal, and for me, it works out fairly well.
For me, black metal is truly about the atmosphere that it brings. Good black metal will have you thinking of winter nights and vast forest covered in snow in addition to the lyrical content of the songs as well. Aurvandil does the same, but adds plenty of clean elements reminiscent of an Opeth-type band mixed in with their black metal sound. They are near a progressive metal sound at times, but those elements are so infrequent, that I would not really count them as a progressive metal band.
From the outset of Yearning and its acoustic / pagan opening to the powerful blastbeats and the scathing vocals, I think that most black metal fans will thoroughly enjoy what Aurvandil brings to the table with Yearning. They truly are more than your traditional black metal band and bring a lot with the release of Yearning. Hell, there is even some solid lead solo work on this release.
URVANDIL was created in MMVI as a spontaneous, scornful, hatred-driven catharsis. Now the yonder beckons, and AURVANDIL yearns. For the eternal night, for solitude, for GaÃ¯a. For total extinction. Heralding the Northern spirit once more, the debut album Yearning stands as a cold, harsh manifest of what once was, an ode to spite and a reflection of somber, melancholic hatred.
“Yearning is the debut album of this french project, this time supported by WiedergÃ¤nger on drums, which leads to perfection of the sound. A further development to the first Eisenwald installment ‘Ferd’ is to be heard clearly, but AURVANDIL remained true to himself. Compositions and sound breathe the spirit of the early ’90s, primarily mid-tempo black metal, with fast outbreaks and in contrast slow appearing parts as well as calm acustic passages with folk-influences. The rarely used vocals let the music speak for itself and keep the overall epic and dismal atmosphere.” — The Wanderer
Aurvandil – Strings, Voices, Craft
Wiedergaenger – Thunderous Scorn (Session)
The Austrasian Goat – Chthonic pulse on “Prelude,” voices of Scorn
Crafted between MMVI and MMX and recorded in two sessions in June and August MMX.
Drums performed and captured in Nordrhein-Westfalen by Wiedergaenger.
Strings and voices captured in four nights in Austrasia.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by the Austrasian Goat.
CD in jewelcase, rough paper stock with silver prints.
Vinyl edition to be released later in 2011.
Europe – June 20, 2011
USA/Rest of world – July 11, 2011
Yearning Track Listing:
I – Yearning – Prelude Download Track
II – End Of An Age Download Track
III – Reign Of Ice I Download Track
IV – A Guide To Northern Scapes Download Track
V – Walking – Interlude Download Track
VI – I Summon Scorn Download Track
VII – Reign Of Ice II Download Track
VIII – Gylfi’s Journey Download Track
IX – Reaching – Finale