I cannot imagine the amount of incredible heavy metal I don’t get to hear every year just due to the sheer amount of music that’s out there and all of the labels both big and small putting content into the world and filling our senses. Each year, I encounter at least a handful of new labels that become favorites and whose releases I mark in my mental calendar because they’re always worth it.
Fiadh Productions is a relatively new venture based in New York that, in their words, promotes all that is wild, dark, and enchanting and that nobly supports animal rights and welfare. It also helps that we do know the one force behind this label also had a major hand in Broken Limbs Recordings, another of our favorite small labels, and they’re already off to a great start with two of their initial releases. One is “The Final Sorrow,” the latest full-length from Connecticut-based This White Mountain (helmed solely by Kevin Narowski, though drummer Chris Bryan plays on a couple tracks), the other is “High Plains of Lev’myr,” the first release from Lev’myr (the Dallas-based duo of Andrea May Taylor and Garry Brents, who also plays Cara Neir among other bands) who take you on the Medieval-style journeys of Gwyn the badger, Basil the hedgehog and their friends as they take an adventure that feels half “Lord of the Rings,” half “Over the Garden Wall.” They are very different trips though they definitely adhere to the promise to uncover all that is dark and alluring, and each release is ridiculously satisfying and touch on different types of artistic stimulation.
As for This White Mountain’s “The Final Sorrow,” “Pouring” introduces you to the collection with rains pouring and the essence bleeding into “Demise,” a 9:43-long burner that has scathing atmosphere with leads swimming through murk and the playing continually smothering. Blackness and elegance fall, chilling you to the bone, then it’s on to “Burden” that thrashes and burns. Moody and ferocious as it pushes on, there are emotional waves and devastating guitar work, and even the calmer moments have tornadic pressure behind it, soaring out through the air. “Bleak Future” has guitars dripping and the intensity tearing things apart, great melodies tidal waving onto the shores. Later, the drums take apart everything, and the adventure hits a huge high point that leaves you breathless. “Death Take Me” comes in fast and rupturing, the violent pace clubbing away and creating storming power. The playing is relentless and trudging, unearthing filth and anger that fully consumes. Closer “The Final Sorrow” is the longest track, stretching over 15:01 and dawning in cold fog, the bass bending, and a gust takes over that reminds of classic Opeth. Melody and skullduggery are two massive elements, washing through space and into the stars, overcoming with passion and infectious devastation, rushing out amid crushing screams and an abrupt end.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ThisWhiteMountain
“High Plains of Lev’myr” opens with the title track and has acoustics fluttering as the splendor unfolds, the village opening itself up to the rest of the world, then “Shire Sunrise / Morning Tea” has a baroque feel amid the synth strings and the breezy early hours feel, wheat flowing and birds chirping. “The Journey Begins” has cellos swaying and keys making magic as gold is stolen, the honey runs desperately low, and a great wizard advises our heroes. “Under the Stars” has strings creeping as the clouds collect above the group’s heads as they seek rest for the night, this calming passage surely able to get them there. “Rain Awakening” brings dramatic synth and gusts of air as raindrops the size of coconuts crash down, acoustics and strings striking, heading toward “Cave Ambush” where serene synth and woodwinds creep along as spiders attack from all angles, the group fighting hard to survive. “Ironworks of the Bears” is the final chapter with strings and keys plinking, blowing through the trees. The group finds a place to rest for the night, thankful for the safety but aware the journey is just beginning.
These two releases could not be more diametrically different from each other yet coexist nicely on the Fiadh roster. Blistering and atmospheric black metal from This White Mountain and Lev’myr’s charming and cinematic dungeon synth and folk each make for two records that’ll attract different audiences with a surprising large circle at the center of the Venn diagram showing each’s following. Both of these are enjoyable, surprising releases that have us excited for both bands and this new label.
For more on the band, go here: https://levmyr.bandcamp.com/releases
To buy the albums, go here: https://fiadh.bandcamp.com/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/fiadhproductions