There is just something amazing about bands that are inspired by J.R.R Tolkien, nature and just the ethereal forces that stir about. That is exactly what Norway’s Beleriand has used here as a driving force behind his sound. Formed in 2019 as a one-man band by Víðarr, this release sounds like he has been doing this for a lot longer than just two years. A year after his debut full length Far Over Wood and Mountain Tall, Víðarr presents February upon the frozen altar. This album is both beautiful and dark, moving and melodic, fast-paced and slow all at the same time. He has learned to perfectly balance two opposing tempos, sounds and atmospheres all at the same time. This is quite notable with the use of tremolo picked riffs, otherworldly screams that mingle with beautiful, haunting keyboard melodies and soft vocalizations and spoken word parts.
Now it is quite common in atmospheric black metal to over saturate the ambiance and atmosphere of the music but this is perfectly balanced. The use of female vocalizations to layer with Víðarr’s screeches and screams creates an almost elegant beauty/beast dynamic through out the album. Tracks such as All Hope Abandon Ye Who Enter Here and Black Knight of Autumn stand out personally as these are perfect examples of the use of everything mentioned above mixed and timed flawlessly.
I truly believe that Víðarr has created something unique, enchanting, dark and beautiful here with the release of February. There really is a strong attraction that the listener will develop as you delve deeper into the album as it is just…surreal. If you are a fan of Summoning, Grima and Eldamar or just unique and ethereal atmospheric and epic black metal, then I suggest surrendering yourself to the forest and let the trees and nature overtake you.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Neil Andersen