Review by Vladimir on June 17, 2023.
A lonely warrior, bearing the weight of his spear, rode on a stallion through cold and desolate wastelands, while slowly approaching the mysterious fortress which lies on the doorstep of a frozen mountain. Such a strong presentation from the very get-go is pretty ensuring that you’re about to embark on an interesting journey. The topic of this review is the Italian folk/atmospheric black metal band Blaze Of Sorrow and their seventh full-length album Vultus Fati, released on March 31st via the label Eisenwald. If you’re willing to find out what you will be facing on this journey, stay awhile and listen…
Blaze Of Sorrow’s songwriting on Vultus Fati possesses traits of traditional black metal with harsh singing vocals, but on top of that, there is also a sprinkle of epic, folk and atmospheric elements added to the formula. Songs quite often consist of tremolo picking, but there are also very epic moments of mid-tempo riffing and melodies on 'Eretica', while the drumming is for the most part blast-beats or double-bass drumming, with occasional mid-tempo drumming in there as well. Even though acoustic guitar sections on most songs serve as interludes, they play a lead role on instrumental tracks 'Waldgänger' and 'Aura', but is also backed up by beautiful ambient noises of owl hooting on 'Waldgänger'. Speaking of other folk elements on this album, beside acoustic guitar sections there is also a fine addition of soothing viola playing by Eva Impellizzeri, which you’ll come across in 'Flammae', 'Nel Vento', 'Waldgänger', 'Aion' and 'Aura'. The musical work on this album is overall pretty straightforward but on point and very epic at times, incorporating a lot of elements that differ from what you’ve heard on one of the previous tracks. Apart from what the music achieves in terms of technicality, it also has its own magic where the atmosphere successfully encourages the listener to imagine a fictional scenario in his head when fully immersed in the music. I swear, if you played Elder Scrolls Oblivion or Skyrim with this music on, it would really go well with the kind of vibe it radiates. Another big plus I have to give this album, which also fits its general atmosphere, is the inclusion of the cover art done by Adam Burke (aka Nightjar Illustration), whose work I’ve been following actively on social media and been a big fan for quite some time. For real, everything that Adam Burke ever painted, he just captures the moment on canvas like no one else. Production-wise, everything sounds very clean and pristine for a black metal album, but nevertheless it works so well with the music.
The album Vultus Fati is a pretty enjoyable and epic experience from start to finish, but most importantly, it clearly tells you that this is a work made by passionate and dedicated musicians who put their hearts in the right place. I might be 2-3 months late, but I am definitely glad to have come across this album and it will definitely be a worthy inclusion among best releases of 2023, because I personally consider this as pure “album of the year” material. If you never heard of Blaze Of Sorrow, now is a good chance to check out their new album Vultus Fati.
Rating: 8.8 out of 10738