Angmaer - Towards Darkness' Paradise (UKEM Records)

A powerful (and wholly appropriate) use of apostrophes...
Release Date: 
9 May 2015 - 11:30pm

One man, black metal solo project Angmaer (that's Oscar Taylor to you) does a pretty good job of sounding like he's from the chilly North of Europe instead of the UK - and coupled with the fact that he knows how to use an apostrophe allows him to take up residence in a soft spot in my heart. His debut Towards Darkness' Paradise (See?! He know's where it's meant to go...) is a well crafted black metal affair. Surprisingly the title track (and album opener) is little more than an introduction with the album beginning in earnest with the massive 13 plus minutes of Hvitulven where he busts out some superb grating vocals and blasts himself (and me) into a state of joy and happiness. Or perhaps not, bearing in mind that this is black metal so you won't get anywhere near a state of 'happy, happy, joy, joy' with the genre. After three or four minutes of the extreme blasting and riffing, it all slows down. Luckily Angmaer doesn't go in for the cliched spoken word bit at this point, and allows the mellower section to soothe before it's back into it again. Being over 13 minutes in length there has to be another mellow bit, which is a touch more atmospherical then the first. Again, after this it's back into it for a mentalist outro. Phew! That was a long one...

Necromantic Summoning seems to show off the idea that there's an almost power metal structure to the riffs which are juxtaposed nicely against the more traditional black metal drums and vocals. Angmaer's ability to sound like a black and white faced Swedish/Norwegian type is reiterated on Den Guddommeligens Riket (should there be an apostrophe somewhere in that title?).

The remainder of the album flies by in a most exhilarating fashion and album closer Transcending shows a wholly mellow side to the man, the band and/or the project. A powerful debut and I'll definitely be checking out his pre-album release, the four track EP Sorg Trolldom Vinter. Grammar-based ponderings aside, this is definitely worth checking out.