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It's not like Black Funeral are emerging from dust, though they could run risk of turning into it: Ankou and the Death Fire is album nine for these Texan black metallers! Sometimes, though, age is no killer; it can continue to breathe life.

"Gwyn ap Nudd," the album’s ripping fourth track, premiers below. Quote-unquote polished production values come into focus as its own structural element: As with prior releases, the wailing is full-spectrum. Fuzz is over-utilized nowadays, but finds a warm home in Black Funeral, revamped and three-dimensional. That is to say, Black Funeral has adopted new senses of formidability, musically, and it runs harder and faster for farther goalposts. Cawing for truth takes guts, but it also takes time, the one thing perfection desires most, and Black Funeral has processed for two decades in anticipation of this peak.

-Andrew Rothmund

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Ankou and the Death Fire releases on September 9 via Iron Bonehead and Dark Adversary.

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