Solo artist Ember Belladonna presents a haunting and enchanting offering in her forthcoming debut album The Grove. Releasing on February 9th, 2024.
Ember Belladonna comments:
My goal with my music and with this album is to make the flute the lead within a genre it’s not always heard in. To surprise people with the way this instrument can sound, and how it can fit into metal music in ways you don’t expect. You will hear what sounds like more ‘traditional’ flute playing as well as a much edgier sound throughout the album. In certain tracks I use a type of flute called the glissando flute paired with a guitar pedal to give it a completely new sound.
There’s a fantastical element to Ember Belladonna’s folk sound that creates visions of unbelievable sights, while also being at peace within nature. The Grove is an apt title as the music, and her ethereal vocals certainly capture the landscape of such a place, albeit one only imagined. Yet, thanks to the soft melody, driven often by immense use of a flute, and captivating voice of Ember, it’s easier to find yourself wandering deeply into the images your own mind creates here.
Opening with a grand, but subtle showcase of flute on the intro Tenalach, the poignancy that this record offers is front and centre, and that leads into the chilling Heart of the Grove. Where Ember Belladonna’s creativity is showcased with aplomb. It can’t be understated just how strong her voice is, and it’s fascinating to see this track evolve into something heavier. Didn’t you know? Ember Belladonna is a folk-rock/metal artist.
It’s a wonderful track, so it’s no surprise it is given the instrumental treatment at the end of the album.
Speaking of wonderful though, it’s time to get a bit darker and more worrisome sounding with The Wild Hunt (is that a Witcher reference?). The thump of the drums (Saint Zapp) in this track, and how the flute swirls around the mind is exceptionally great. The only complaint is that it is done and dusted in less than two minutes.
No matter, big folk melodies and more prominent guitar parts (Justin Bender) make Ruination another strong effort. A track that speaks of the way in which humanity doesn’t always respect nature, and a track that features vast guest vocals from Lycanthro’s James Delbridge. He’s not the only guest either, as The Darkeyed Musician helps the title track really encompass the sense of fantastical wonder this album has overall.
The heaviest and most intense track of all comes next. Called Spirit Woman, it features Laura Inferno (AKA The Inferno Doll) and she brings so much to The Grove with some really harsh vocals. This track is a little bit of a tone shift musically, but that’s not a complaint, as the story behind it calls for a darker and more twisted sound. The track being inspired by the Irish legend of the Dearg-Due.
Finally, not including the instrumental version of Heart of the Grove, it’s fanciful folk and prominent flute playing with Unnamed. A track to make you move a little more, all while still appreciating the grandeur that the whole record has to offer.
Ember Belladonna – The Grove Track Listing:
2. Heart of the Grove
3. The Wild Hunt
5. The Grove
6. Spirit Woman
8. Heart of the Grove – Instrumental
Ember Belladonna - The Grove (Self Released)
The Final Score - 7.5/10