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Premiere: Ered Wethrin – Tides of War

Back in November when we streamed Ered Wethrin‘s “Into the Stars”, I waxed a little poetic (and ridiculous) about the epic nature of the one-man band’s first single. It was an undeniably exciting song, the first look at an absurdly epic black metal band coming from a label, Northern Silence, that knows a thing or two about epic black metal—with fellow Salt Lake City band Caladan Brood and Italy’s Emyn Muil on the label (and working on a split together) in addition to Ered Wethrin, practically the only thing Northern Silence is missing is Summoning itself at this point. “Into the Stars” is arguably still the height of victorious epic metal on Ered Wethrin’s debut album, Tides of War, but that’s not to say the album’s lacking in the battle hymn department. Hit play on opener “Frozen Rivers” and prepare for a primer on mid-paced fantasy-driven black metal (the band’s named for a mountain range in Tolkien’s Middle Earth).

“Frozen Rivers” is another favorite on the album, a track rich in atmosphere and all the more grand due to the restraint shown. It’s catchy as hell, too, reaching anthem status on the back of rather simple drums, a great guitar tone, style for days and, true to genre form, an exaggerated rasp that bleeds over the mix and throughout the rest of the album. Those looking for group vocals won’t be disappointed, as they appear across Tides of War, too, notably on “Frigid Tides” and the aforementioned “Into the Stars”. Every track on the album is anthemic, but never contrived—these songs flow well, especially impressive given that all but one clocks in around ten minutes or longer. Final track “Requiem for the Fallen” has all the gravitas that a proper epic black metal closer should, but a wink at around 33 seconds remaining shows a little leg.

Tides of War is available for preorder from Northern Silence as of today and is out on February 14th.

— Wyatt Marshall

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