Album Review: Netherbird – The Grander Voyage (Black Lodge Records)

A haunting guitar tone, subtle drum taps, the sound of bells, some moody & dark spoken word vocals…the intro to this excellent 7 track album sets expectations high & thankfully it doesn’t disappoint.

The near 8 minute wonder that is Hinterlands, a slab of black metal that is so dark yet melodic you’ll think it’s conjuring up a wintry storm inside your own head. The guitar riffs twist & turn throughout as if trying to mark out a path we should all follow while the vocals are determined to lead us off a cliff.

A steep drop in tempo at the halfway mark does little to curb the desire to hear more. It’s kept brief too, instead bringing things back up but shifting to an even more exciting guitar tone. It’s an incredible song that highlights the heaviness & beauty of black metal.

It’s those words that stick with you long after the album has drawn to a close. A combination that will put the biggest smile on corpse painted-faces. Windwards dark vocals are matched by the chill of the riffs that echo heavily but with a clarity that is very welcome. This is a well produced album, no one element overshadowing the other.

The use of softer melodies & lighter vocals on occasion helps keep things fresh during Pillars of the Sky. When the heavy erupts it feels even more crushing because of the well planned build. This song is an absolute belter, somehow standing taller on a album filled with giants. Picking the best song here is like trying to pick your favourite child.

Even as the album heads towards its finish it still drops in some nice surprises such as the ear-pleasingly good guitar solo & sexily subtle piano section that comes midway through The Silvan Shrine before Emerald Crossroads end things strongly. As it’s final stormy notes play out, it’s impossible to not reflect on what you’ve just heard. A masterpiece of modern black metal but with enough subtle nods towards historic sounds.

Overall Track Listing:

1. Pale Flames on the Horizon
2. Hinterlands
3. Dance of the Eternals
4. Windwards
5. Pillars of the Sky
6. The Silvan Shrine
7. Emerald Crossroads

We would like to thank Netherbird & FullBlast! PR for providing us with a copy of the album for review purposes. You can buy the album here as well as check the band out on their official website. If social media is more your thing they have a Facebook Page & you can follow them on Twitter as well as check out some of their music on YouTube.

Netherbird - The Grander Voyage (Black Lodge Records)
  • The Final Score - 9/10
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