ARÐ – Untouched By Fire

May 3, 2024, 2 weeks ago

(Prophecy Productions)

Nick Balazs

Rating: 7.5

review heavy metal ard

ARÐ – Untouched By Fire

Winterfylleth keyboardist Mark Deeks has returned with his second Arð album. Untouched By Fire is a sturdy boulder of doom metal with fresh lyrical inspiration. This go-around, Untouched By Fire narrates the tale of the Anglo-Saxon warrior-king Oswald, aka Whiteblade. A press release informs Whiteblade “united the lands of Bernicia and Deira, and reigned over the thus newly created Kingdom of Northumbria between the years 633 and 642.”

As with debut Take Up My Bones, the music is slow as molasses doom metal with thundering drums and oppressive guitars with a spiritual backbone. The vocals take on a choral tone and lighter passages have a spiritual aura on them. Deeks’ compositions are well-written and provide the tension, dangers, and stress of Oswald’s exploits. “Hefenfelth” plays with these emotions through the brilliantly crafted arrays of tension in the softer and heavier passages.

It isn’t hard to become consumed with the crushing atmosphere and sledgehammer rhythms; Deeks was wise to fit his ideas into six tracks at 42 minutes. It would have been tough to take over 50 minutes of the same tempo over and over, but Untouched By Fire sits just right with that runtime.

This album is recommended to take in with a good pair of headphones and to just sit back and get lost in the music. Deeks has crafted another unique idea with Arð and this should not go by unnoticed.

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