Despite how many metal fans view underground music, some of it is designed for the big screen, a place where it can take advantage of its hugeness and be able to spread its reach as far as it can go. Yeah, it’s also fun to dwell in the basement amid dripping pipes where ugliness reigns, and I love that ambiance as well. But that just doesn’t work for every band.
Fellwarden is the type of band whose music deserves to be heard in surround sound, in a fucking theater if you can, with every sonic advantage as its beck and call. Their second record “Wreathed in Mourncloud” certainly falls in that category as it is utterly massive sounding, packed with emotion, melody, and diverse sounds that up the ante from their debut “Oathbearer.” What started as a studio-only project for Fen frontman The Watcher has turned into a cinematic treasure, as he and drummer Havenless (also of Fen) travel through six massive songs in about an hour, each of which grips you from the start and doesn’t let go until that individual journey has ended. If you’re here because you’re a Fen fan, you’ll certainly feel right at home, but there’s so much more going on that it can be overwhelming. We recommend a dedicated sitting to absorb this thing with your attention undivided.
“Pathmaker” starts the record with clean guitars trickling before the song bursts, and rousing singing from the Watcher commands the scene. The rushing essence and mystical strangeness gets inside of you, letting the playing churn and fill your chest with wonder. The pace then charges while the synth provides orchestral instrumentation, and the track crumbles to its end. “Scafell’s Blight” is a gigantic gust as the track spits nails, and the shrieks bring total harshness. The pace surges forward and floods the scene with emotion before respite arrives with a serene section complete with strummed guitars and eerie whispers. Later on, the walls break down and the growls scrape anew while foggy moodiness fills the skies, the playing cascades hard, and clean calls lead the song to its finish. “A Premonition” is a transitional instrumental track to bridge to the record’s second half, and a synth haze and choral calls make it feel like a dewy morning at the castle grounds with regality at its highest point.
The title track has a dark, mournful start before growls rush, and the playing lands haymakers. That violence eventually leads way to some calmer waters and hearty singing you practically can sink your teeth into. That keeps spilling into devastation as the growls wail away, and the drums crumble the earth. Synth sheets coat faces while the vocals trade off from vile shrieks and airy singing. “An Elder Reckoning” runs a healthy 11:42 and has a massive start with slow mauling and smothering growls. Clean singing swells on the chorus, while a tidal wave of riffs arrives, and then things speed up suddenly. Shrieks pummel through this burst before synth rolls in and delivers a second downpour, and the track trudges over prone bodies. Heartfelt singing and giant crescendo signal the end and cause your heart to pump heavily while everything disappears into mist. “Upon Stone” is the 12:38 closer, and it lets piano drip as the ambiance slowly develops, while clean calls bellow. The track then rips itself apart as the guitar work carves a path, and the growls leave heavy wounds. The playing glimmers as dark tidings are near, and the path continues to build massive new worlds. Things halt as pianos emerge again, and emotional singing pumps, leading to the final section of the song, where a deep gaze unfurls. That fires up and drives stakes, bursting into violent and salty waves, ending the record on a delirious high.
Everything on Fellwarden’s second record is bigger, more emotional, and doing whatever is in its power to reach into the majesty of the stars. “Wreathed in Mourncloud” sounds like something that would scratch at sadness and misery, and there certainly is darkness here, but the bulk of this record just makes your blood surge through your veins. This in a huge, great-sounding record that captures the beauty and glory of the band’s surroundings translated into music.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/fellwarden
To buy the album, go here: https://store.eisenton.de/en/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.eisenton.de/