Auriferous Flame – The Great Mist Within (Review)

Αuriferous Flame - The Great Mist WithinThis is the debut album from one-man Greek black metal act Auriferous Flame.

Brought to us by the artist behind Spectral Lore and Mystras, The Great Mist Within contains 39 minutes of black metal influenced by the classic second wave era. It’s modelled on the traditional style, but can’t escape the contemporary feel that the artist brings to it.

These well-written tracks are a modern interpretation of times past, taking the second wave template and delivering music that lifts its essential elements up into the present day. The music of Auriferous Flame is both atmospheric and aggressive. With frosted power and icy determination, the music paints a vivid portrait of black metal’s past, while working with present day materials. The songs unfold with hateful hostility and cold grandeur, but with a contemporary filtering that means they retain their bite and ability to compete in today’s crowded blackened landscape.

The music is reminiscent of Mystras, only without the medieval aspects, which is apt as the artist says in the promo blurb that “Αuriferous Flame is in a way a continuation of many of the ideas and music styles in Mystras, without the obligation of the medieval historical theme and folk music pieces.” You can also hear the impact of Spectral Lore on the songs.

Dark melodies, malevolent riffs, and buried-in-the-mix-as-another-instrument daemonic screams form the album’s bedrock. The blast beats are brutally destructive and forceful, and when sinister grooves surface they are compelling and wonderfully-crafted. Throughout it all the blackened melodies are ubiquitous; sometimes subtle, sometimes overt, but always engaging. The artist twists and shapes these building blocks into five compelling songs that go for the throat with vicious enthusiasm, while simultaneously delivering sinister atmospheres and grim moods.

Whether fast or slow, the music is greatly textured. No matter how harsh, (or resplendent), the music becomes, it takes a detailed approach to its delivery, and this pays off. Like with Mystras, there’s a complexity here that’s nuanced and wrapped in the music’s blackness, enhancing the mood-based approach of the songs considerably.

The Great Mist Within is a satisfying and well-realised exercise in how to update the classic style with a modern delivery.

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