Usually, when receiving a review from Death Prayer nine times out of ten I find myself drifting from one country to another. However, today is different. Today I’m here to review another UK Black Metal act. One that adds another feather to our cap of first-rate British Black Metal bands. Birthed in 2019 Wynter Myst have been on an upward climb releasing four singles one E.P. and one full-length titled Frore which translates as frozen. Which in itself is a huge achievement due to how many acts Steve Blackwood is attached to. Being part of Annwn, Arcane North, Blood Countess, Cave Dweller, Old Corpse Road and Peasant to name just a few. It’s a wonder he’s not already exhausted. This is certainly not the case.
When the cassette dropped onto my doorstep I knew I had to undertake the journey to Darlington, Durham. Usually, I’d float through the sky to my destination but as it’s a relatively close one I thought the train would suffice. As I board the many onlookers stare at my unusual look. Well, they are witnessing a skull in heavy set robes, clutching rolls of parchment and a battered old cassette player. Not your everyday occurrence.
As the train passes through many a dark tunnel and the carriage lights flicker people cling to loved ones and mouth is it my time? As a wry but somewhat untelling smile comes across my skull I inwardly chuckle and shake my skull. Sadly that’s the other guy that dresses like me. You’ll meet that maker soon enough. As I arrive at my destination it’s pouring rain. So as I shuffle off to find the nearest coffee house where people are gathered, sipping at their overpriced newest caffeine-filled beverage I’m an entity of much simpler Pleasures. As I grab a black coffee and clear the bar area at the window just by my presence alone the would-be screenwriters and book fanatics run for cover. As I look around and unroll my parchment people start to shake and quiver at the thought that judgement is here. As I pull from around my vertebrae the slender silver curved metal it isn’t until the orange foam comes into vision the coffee house gains its composure. As I place the old-school headphones over my dome and press play I brace myself for what is to come.
Track one “Frostbitten Ophidian Veins” opens in a hail of Gatling firing blast beats and double kicks and is accompanied by some solid thick rhythm riffs not your usual tremolo icy riffs commonly associated with the black metal genre as the piercing screams shatter the sound of the instruments and the tremolo picking sounds through from the lead guitar it’s nicely sprinkled through leaving much of the rhythm to fill in. This intro is a very intricate one stocked with thick riffs and intricate drum fills. Soon enough the vocals start to come through. A great combination of rasping vocal deliveries accompanied by howls and screams engage the real aggression behind this track. This is a ripping opening track and clocking in at an over whopping seven minuets long mark it combines all the key parts to a black metal track. The hellish fast opening and verses after provide that much-needed burst of energy for an opening track. While the midsection takes a much more slow and more morose breakdown. This showing that a certain Mr Blackwood has indeed got much skill hidden up those sleeves. The slow breakdown whilst short fills my skull with dark Pleasures the chords change to a slow stunning pace and are left to ring out like that used in DSBM tracks. The vocals change from subtle evil whispers back to the stunning opening shrills of hatred. This track is an absolute punisher and you can feel a lot of connection to the other acts he’s associated with but this has his stamp on it and it shows.
Track two “Glacial Scars” shows no sign of letting up at all. Following a similar suit as the opener, it rips right through you. The drumming is next level just a total tirade of ferocity in playing style, but the progression between the blast beats and the intricate fills are just jaw dropping. The guitar work is genius not your usual cold and icy feel, while little moments do peek through the riffs maintain a steady flow saying this it doesn’t make for boring riffs they in turn have beautiful little fills that feel epic in their placement almost changing and challenging the concept of Black Metal. I am starting to notice some Immortal worship on these tracks, especially “Pure Holocaust” era. There must be something in the water at the moment as with many harping on about the man behind “Lamp Of Murmuur” also adopting such a stance that appears to have many nations in a rage, and God only knows why as the production on here is equally as good as that of the new L.O.M single. All this said this track just has some edge now. As we ascend to the midsection we are served up a treat of a solo very grandiose and epic and that just makes the track flourish in a whole different stance. As the track slams out of the epic midsection we are on a vast trajectory back into the sheer ferociousness of the opening. This is broken up with little slower intersections that just elevate and change the dynamic of the track.
Track three “Apricity” takes on a much slower and more almost DSBM style. The chords are slow and the introduction of a light key work allows to provide an even more sombre tone to the slow guitar work. This is a stunning intro beautifully orchestrated the guitars and the keys layering beautifully upon one another. After the opening the following verses almost allow the track to climb between the much more sunken slow chords this is all elevated with the synth work that breaks through beautifully like the sun piercing through thick black clouds. This is my favourite track on here so far. The contrast between the more melancholic and epic parts makes this a stand-out track and it manages to encompass so many emotions. There feels to be a very strong emotive feeling behind this track and it’s stunning. It delves deep into your soul whilst also pulling you from dark recesses.
Track 4 “Anguished Screams” starts with a swirling vortex of exactly what the title states. Keeping with a similar pace opening of the previous track, this is soon all swept away as we launch into the first verse a hell-worthy blast of epic-paced black metal. The piercing screams give way to a much deeper scream. The drumming and riffs are much more intense and we get to see those frost-bitten riffs break through stunning tremolo-picked parts seethe through and capture the essence beautifully. The rhythm riffs have an awesome like thrash feel to them in places capturing and giving a nod to classic bands. At the just over four-minute mark, we are treated to a stunning break down taking the track to a much slower section. Incorporating those DSBM chords and piercing tremolo parts before being launched back into the murky and the mire of the more intense and thrilling faster paced sections. As the track comes to a close the slower section is back not before finalising that thrash section once again. This track has so many level to it, it encompasses all. If he had added strings to this on top I feel he would’ve incorporated every genre into one track. However, they do say that less is more and every track on here so far has been packed full of greatness enough to keep any black metal fan happy.
Track five “In The Shadow” sees a grand drumming opening, slow chords ring out followed by deep screams and some definite keyboard work going on. This man is not content with giving you less at all. As this track shifts forward the sense of epicness is upon us.
Incorporating a dungeon synth element is just pure genius. As the guitar breaks through we are treated to a jaw-dropping solo. This is an instrumental track of immense proportions, with little chanting in the background and the occasional rasping scream this track infuses so much. There is pure anguish and sorrow in this all wrapped up in a beautiful synth Cloak. This provides a great pivotal point here within the album.
Track six “Under The Spell” sees us back into the foray of riffs and blast beats after that stunningly arranged midsection of track five. This is certainly an incredible closing track. The ferociousness is back with full vengeance again the riffs are rhythmical and match the intricate drumming pattern well. As the blast beats pummel the little intricate fills elevate this track in its ability to hit hard. This captures moments of pure thrash and old-school black metal beautifully. The combination of the two has the track running at an almost old-school Marduk track. Its sheer battering drumming and riffs just literally take you off your feet. The aggression is full-on, on every level. There is no let-up and it just offers no relinquishment not until the end where we are offered an incredibly intricate solo and sombre ending with some incredible double kick footwork.
As I lean back on the stool I’m sitting on and cast a cold gaze out at the swarming public outside. I’m almost floored at what I’ve just barred witness to. This album doesn’t just follow its predecessor well it supersedes it and it doesn’t just do it in a slight fashion it pummels it. Not that Frore’s an album is a slouch by any means. This is an immense album with the right amount of tracks in the perfect running order and does exactly what a lot of B.M. albums don’t. It starts as it means to go on and opens the same way as it exits. It has amazing midsection tracks and the production on this album is sheer perfection. You can hear every instrument and they just literally flow through you with every note and beat. It encapsulates everything that has come before it in the vein of B.M. and turns it up to eleven. This will certainly be on my top 10 end-of-year list for sure. As I gather my parchment roll a cigarette and exit the now deathly quiet coffee shop I have a feeling of contentment in my person’s. As I replay track three “Apricity” again I take a slow shuffle back to the station disappearing between the darkness and the Wynter Myst
Darkest Hails #Foras #LordOfTheShadows