Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
The Greek metal scene has recently had quite a few good releases of atmospheric black metal albums. Today, we will review Outlands, the latest album of the band Celtefog, founded by Archon, also guitarist of Empathy.
Even though the album is consisted of five tracks only, its duration is well above 40 minutes, time that is more than enough to get a good taste of the band’s identity as influenced by Archon’s recent move to northern Switzerland.
The album opens with “The White Fjord”, which is the longest track of the release. Through the music and lyrics, the listener gets a good touch of the climate in northern Switzerland and central Europe during the winter: cold, with introverted tendencies. I liked the melodic riffs and the use of keys. It is clear that the level of standards regarding the atmospheric black metal has been raised to high levels and that’s good for both the scene and the musicians that come up with new ideas, as well as for the public that has the option to listen to new stuff, away from the common known recipes. In this case “The White Fjord”, apart from the atmospheric music, offers a nice combination of growling vocals, which turn to whispers in Greek towards the end of the track.
Next one is “Natur”, a tribute to Switzerland. A song that is more “spring-like” at the beginning and combines all the influences of the artist, combining German, English and Greek lyrics. This one, despite its start, has a more depressing tone and takes the listener to cold and snowy places, where the dominant feeling is introversion. It is followed by “Up on the hills”, a track with a macabre and melodic start that turns into black/thrash afterwards. Archon’s melodic guitar is always there to balance the quick rhythm and transfuse an innovative idea into the whole song.
Second to last track and my favourite… “To the Celtic Lands”. I literally can’t stop listening to it over and over again. The combination of keyboards, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals and flute(!) creates such an addictive melody that is tattooed into the brain. Tracks like these not only define atmospheric black metal, but they take it to a whole new level. It’s this type of songs that give you the chills and it’s no wonder why this one has become a video clip too. I heard some influences from Rotting Christ in keyboards as well.
Celtefog say auf wiedersehen with the “279 BC”, a song that honours the origins of the band. It refers to the battle of Thermopylae, not the popular one with King Leonidas, but one of the other five that took place there. More specifically, the battle of 279 BC was a battle between the Gauls and a coalition of Greeks, in Gauls’ way to raid Delphi. The Greeks were far fewer, but managed to cause substantial losses to the enemy. Then the chief of the Gauls sent army to the land of Aetolia, in order to force part of the Greek army to go back to defend their land. When the Greek soldiers finally made it there, it was too late: The Gauls had caused an unprecedented slaughter of men, women, children and elders, desecrating every code of human ethos. In revenge, the Greeks set them a trap on the way back to Thermopylae, killing more than half of the enemy’s army. That battle was crucial to prevent the conquering and colonization of Greece. Remains of the Gauls’ bones can be found in those lands until this day.
“Outlands” is one of those albums that leave their marks in their genre. In situations where the isolation and dead end thoughts prevail, its melody smoothens and sweetens the soul and spirit with the cracking atmosphere it creates.
- The White Fjord
- Up On The Hills
- To The Celtic Lands
- 279 BC
Archon – Guitars, Vocals
Vlad – Guitars
Charon – Bass/Vocals
Aftolycos – Flutes/Strings
Druid – Samples/Keys
Wolfram – Drums
Celtefog is a project by Archon, founded in Alexandreia of Central Macedonia in late 2012. The music style is a mix of Ambient/Pagan/Atmospheric Black Metal and the lyrical themes are talking about the nature, darkness, revenge and Winter. All music and lyrics are written by Archon. All the production (recording, mixing, mastering, artwork) was made by Archon except the drums (for the first four releases), who played by Wolfram. “Outlands” is their 8th release and third complete album.