Arð - Take Up My Bones review
|Take Up My Bones
01. Burden Foretold
02. Take Up My Bones
03. Raise Then The Incorrupt Body
04. Boughs Of Trees
05. Banner Of The Saint
06. Only Three Shall Know
07. Geonde Arð [deluxe edition bonus]
08. Raise Then The Incorrupt Body [hymn version] [deluxe edition bonus]
09. Only Three Shall Know [hymn version] [deluxe edition bonus]
In 2003, members of epic doom metal band Isole formed the pagan black Ereb Altor. In 2019, a member of pagan black Winterfylleth formed the epic doom Arð. Maybe the two genres are not that different after all.
That's a gross oversimplification of things, but I've made the connection simply because I immediately thought of another pair of bands that sit on both sides of the doom / pagan black spectrum (and because I wasn't sure whether Isole or Ereb Altor came first, and also because the latter released a pretty good album this year). Arð is the work of Mark Deeks, who has been playing keyboards in Winterfylleth since 2016. Also contributing are ex-Winterfylleth guitarist Dan Capp, Atavist drummer Callum Cox, and renowned celloist Jo Quail. And thus comes the project's debut, Take Up My Bones.
I did call this "epic doom", but think less in terms of Candlemass and more epic in terms of Bathory, Summoning, and, yes, also Winterfylleth. You might notice that these are all names more closely associated with "black metal" rather than "doom metal". Take Up My Bones is quite an atypical doom metal album, if it even is that. But it's definitely not black metal either. What it is, is that essence of that romantic feeling that comes from pagan, epic or otherwise atmospheric black metal, and distills it to be presented with doom metal riffs, almost funeral doomy keyboard melodies, and lots and lots of vocal harmonies.
For an album so enamored with historical identity and heritage (which makes sense considering that Deeks wrote a thesis on the subject), the album makes damn sure that you definitely feel transported to a romantic version of the past, as the album is thematically centered about Anglo-Saxon Northumbria and Saint Cuthbert. It is something that one would expect more from a folk metal band, but while the folk instrumentation is missing, some of the ethos remains. Somber romantic melodies stem mostly from pianos and cellos (Jo Quail is definitely not underutilized here), and it makes sense that there would be a lot of focus on piano melodies given that Deeks' initial renown comes from playing keys. But, oh Lord, those vocal hymnals always feel in danger of feeling overly dramatic, but Take Up My Bones is able to continuously sustain their impact positively.
In some way, it is the "metal" that never really takes center stage on Take Up My Bones. But instead the hymnals, the pianos, the cellos, the atmospheric keys. The riffs feel like a backdrop to all of it, but the album never suffers from knowing exactly where its strengths lie. After every listen, it's not any riff that remained with me, but I still hear pianos and choirs.
|Written on 28.02.2022 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.
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