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OFERWINTRAN - Llyfr Coch Hergest

Release date December 7/19 (Bandcamp/Black-metal.shop)

Last year's debut EP from Oferwintran (Demo) ended up on my "Best Of 2018 EPs" list, a fantastic example of melodic black metal that was only held back by a somewhat muted production job. Flash forward to this year and we now have the debut full length from the U.K.-based band.

First thing that is immediately clear upon first listen to Llyfr Coch Hergest is the much improved sound, the guitar and rhythm section interplay crystal clear, pinning you back in your chair, if played at appropriate volumes. Much of the album is spent in instrumental rhythmic bliss, allowing the amazing melodic riffing to take centre stage.

Secondly, the drumming is exceptional, Kevin Paradis taking over skin duties so that main man Nihtian can concentrate on everything else (guitars/bass/vocals/song writing). Paradis can blast with the best of 'em when needed, but has the skill, ability and good sense to lay off at times, laying down plodding passages and rolls so that when the blast comes, you are well and truly ripped a new a-hole.

Of course, this is all a mute point if you don't have memorable songs, which is where Nihtian excels. The main riff of each of these songs burrows its way into your brain, itching that spot on your cerebral cortex that aches for such melodic blackness. A truly invigorating piece of art that deserves the attention of all of those who share the same love of melodic black metal. Just listen to 'Dream of Rhonabwy' and tell me that ain't one of the best songs of 2019.

(8.5)

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