BEORN’S HALL – Estuary
One sign of metal’s universal appeal is the number of bands that sound like they’re from a region that isn’t the region that they are initially from. Like a Gothenburg style American band, or in the case of Beorn’s Hall, a Pagan black metal band from New Hampshire, United States. This band, had I not known that they were from the East Coast, would’ve fooled me into thinking they hailed from somewhere in the middle of Europe, and were just writing in a style that fits their location. Not only did Beorn’s Hall use their music to make it sound like they’re from across the pond, but said music is very good. Their most recent album, Estuary, came out on February 24th and is a must listen to any black metal fans. “Introduction” starts this one off, and does so with a storm, accompanied by a very distant instrumental. This leads into “Dark Wood-Black Marsh”, a longer track that succeeds in showing off a lot of what this band has to offer. It begins with a soft acoustic guitar intro, before the long build up leads into a softer and folk inspired black metal section. The production is nice. It’s raw, but still well put together, and every instrument is audible, but everything still sounds cohesive.
The vocals on here are very screechy, and while it takes some time for them to grow you, once they do you realize they compliment the music very well. Next is the title track, “Estuary”. This one is shorter, at around four minutes, and features solid writing with nice riffs, and continues to be very folk inspired. The ending gets pretty chaotic, and the band allow the speed and heaviness to carry this song to the end. “Blood for Wotan” is next, and has a soft intro with some distant clean vocals. The pace on this song is a bit on the slower end, and the harsh vocals return, and are really well done on this song. Up next is “The Nurturing Soil”, which has a dark and heavier intro with another well-written riff. The vocals change between harsh and clean naturally. The band lets the pagan side of their sound take over, giving it a dark folk vibe. This leads into “Call to Ravens”, which opens with ravens cawing, mixed with some spoken vocals that turn into spoken word. The first half of this song is soft, before picking up the pace for the second half. The writing is solid, and the vocals on here, especially towards the end, are deeper than they have been on previous tracks.
“I Know You Rider” is a song where the band abandons the metal for a few minutes, and lets pure folk take over. The clean vocals mixed with the acoustic guitar work very well here. This song on the surface seems to be an interlude, but stands out enough to be another good song on this album. The band calls home for “New Hampshire Rain”, which opens with a nice rain sound effect. This song is slower paced, and features a nice riff and some of the tightest writing on this album. The pace picks up for a section towards the middle, before slowing down for the ending. “Roads go on Forever” ends this album, opening with a spoken word intro, before launching into another folk inspired black metal song. The riffs are nice, the writing continues to be tight, and the wind and rain outro helps this album end on a natural note. This is a very solid album. While at times it does feel a bit long, there is some really strong material on here that is sure to please many fans of the black and folk metal genres.
Overall Score: 8.0/10
Review by Sam Hookom