Stream: Aurvandil – “The Harvest of Betrayal”

Aurvandil’s Thrones was quietly released in an edition of 200 cassettes on Psychic Violence last year, and while it was a huge score for those who picked up a copy, it was a damn shame that the album didn’t get more play. Thrones destroys—it’s four tracks of monumental, soaring black metal dragged kicking and screaming from some netherworld.

Aurvandil is a French duo, who, for emerging from such obscurity, have a surprisingly deep catalogue—ten releases before Thrones, all of which were the product of main-man Auvandil, who only brought on drummer Fog for Thrones. “The Harvest of Betrayal” is the second track off of the four-track album, and, even at nearly 13 minutes in length, the second shortest on the album. It’s epic in scope, dense and rich without ever straying from a backbone of frigid blasting. The vocals are a highlight—an anguished howl barely breaks above the mix before it’s drowned again among some primordial fury. It’s invigorating stuff, and, given the Psychic Violence connection (home to Ash Borer, Vilkacis, and Ruin Lust), it’s tempting to compare the relentless drumming to that of Michael Rekevics, the indefatigable drummer of Vilkacis, Ruin Lust and Fell Voices. That full-blasting intensity doesn’t diminish the song’s arcing, gigantic composition in any way—give it a listen.

Thrones is out on April 21 in Europe and May 6 on Eisenwald.

— Wyatt Marshall