12 Winter Moons Comes the Witches Brew is an experimental black metal release that takes a multitude of styles and influences and boils them all together into 41 minutes of very enjoyable music.
This is music that’s raw and dense, while still retaining colour and a freedom of melodic expression that allows the music to breathe, despite being quite oppressive and dissonant in nature in places. The base of the music is powered by a love of second wave black metal, which is then built on by experimental, atmospheric, and avant-garde elements. This approach has produced songs that effectively combine the solid tried-and-tested formula of traditional black metal with the more unusual and try-it-out nature of the project’s experimental side.
Overall the experimental/avant-garde aspects are handled very well across the album, and there are some very good ideas explored across the tracks. Even though these elements can be quite prominent in places, the music always falls back to its blackened core before it becomes too far removed from what it ultimately is. This results in an album that largely strikes an enjoyable balance between its standard and non-standard parts, and therefore makes for a very rewarding and satisfying listen.
Each of the songs on this album has their own personality, idiosyncrasies, and individual moments. The diversity works within the overall framework of the wider album, and each song flows well and complements the others. Harsh aggression and unusual atmospheres merge and separate constantly throughout the songs, and the many different ideas and styles employed throughout the playing time hit the mark way more than they don’t.
I can imagine an album such as this fitting in quite nicely in the late 90s/early 00s, when black metal was pushing the boundaries of what the genre was capable of. Arkheth’s work has the same feeling, and this is a very enjoyable album because of it.
This really is an exemplary release.