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Fell Light In Windy Cloud is the debut release from Tírad Dûr, the latest project from black metal musician Kūwāha’ilo. Kūwāha’ilo has been cutting his teeth in the black metal world, releasing music under the project Kūka’ilimoku. The style is rough, straight forward and warlike sounding raw black metal. The latest project Tírad Dûr is no expectation and is the logical next step of his previous work, upping the raw aggression with stronger songwriting and a more polished approach to production.
Black metal, for all its posturing of keeping an orthodox approach to the sound of its founders, is often prone to styles of the moment. In just the past decade plus atmospheric and what some called avant-garde black metal were two stylings that were generally inescapable. I’ve been excited about the genre again with the return to a rawer and more stripped back approach seeming to be more popular now (due in part to the popularity of Këkht Aräkh and Lamp of Murmuur among more normal music fans in the same way that Panopticon or Wolves in The Throne Room were 10 years ago.) For American black metal, this wave has been led by indigenous artists.
Kūwāha’ilo is also a Hawaiian musician and the themes of resistance and anger against the occupation of Hawaii is an essential part to understanding why the music feels so angry. The opening track of Windy Cloud, “The Endless East in Anger Awakens,” kicks right into the album, there is no soft introduction or slow build to the beginning, the album begins at the pace that, except on a few occasions, carries it until its conclusion. The track keeps this anger and speed with a short slowed down riff about two and a half minutes in, which keeps the track interesting without losing the intensity it has built.
This is generally the formula that the release follows, and it offers some great riffs with tons of atmosphere and anger throughout its length. “Blasted Landscapes Of The Crusade” is filled with these blistering riffs and drum work that knows just when to pull back and when to up the intensity. Kūwāha’ilo knows when to switch up the riffs so the songs release and stay fresh, which can be a challenge when tackling a genre that follows a fairly rigid formula.
The track “Shadow – Helmed To War” finds some dynamics with the rhythm. Its eeriness juxtaposes and hence exacerbates the intensity of the tracks preceding it. The track functions as a nice bit of variation from some of the more standard black metal tracks on the record.
“Severed From Divine Right” offers some of the strongest riffs on the release that changes the mood from anger to solemnity, but ultimately ends in an anticlimactic fadeout.
The release is packed with anger and longing (like every strong black metal release.) The guitar tone is perfect, the riffs are fast and primal and the songs are draped in the raw atmosphere of the genre. Kūwāha’ilo is another artist also proving that the Ingenious American black metal scene is one of the strongest to emerge in recent years. It all makes sense, of course, who else better to channel feelings of tradition and struggle from the people who have ruined their homes than indigenous Americans. Their anger feels more real than typical Western black metal projects that harken to a time or place that is largely mythical, or simply kids in the suburbs googling runes and translating to old Norse for their releases.
Fell Light In Windy Cloud is not a groundbreaking release, but it is a great entry into the current black metal scene and proves that Kūwāha’ilo is releasing some strong black metal that is angry, raw and engaging.
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