This is the second “atmospheric black metal” record I have reviewed this week and it is only Tuesday. I would like to say I am not opposed to the style whatsoever rather I find that atmospheric black metal is very easy to imitate but very difficult to make interesting. Uk based band Cold Fell doesn’t really sound like your typical atmospheric black metal act with most of their drama coming from raw emotion. Still there are blurred crescendos, long songs, and a general lean towards the narrative. With that said, Irwell, the band’s debut is far beyond any tree laden album covers and comes with a heavy claw to the face.
Almost everything about Cold Fell is strange and misleading. With a cover that looks like a post metal album and naming structures that look post black, Irwell manages to surprise as it does to entertain. The real engine of the record comes from the precision at which these band members fling themselves against walls and through windows. The intensity of songs like “The Whip” do not conjure images of moody woodmen rather rabid madmen hungry for blood and vengeance. There is calculated anger and dismay which runs like roadmaps through Irwell and for how unconventional this band is, they manage to get the upper hand in what sounds like an eternal fight for dominance.
I am really open and down for anything that is successful. Cold Fell manages to check off everything important for a record with an established aesthetic left unmarked. Perhaps that is the strength of a band that is less willing to study under a style and more about mixing anything that is within arms reach. Without being too bizarre but without being expected, Irwell manages to make fists tighten and ball up with tension.