Well we all get a blood red fog in front of our eyes at times and here you can get one in your ears for good measure. This Finnish death worshipping black metal horde have quite a few releases behind them and this is their third actual album. It was only after listening to it a couple of times that I realised I had in fact covered last full length ‘Harvest’ a couple of years ago. One thing that I will say straight away is that it is quickly evident that there is nothing in the way of progression since that release but that is not the sort of thing one would expect from a band like this. Theirs is a trip back to the dark and primitive ways, gnarly old school worship with a production to boot.
Containing just five numbers and coming in at the 36 minute mark, it starts off with a burst of caustic noise and then batters in to Blazing Star. This has a driving pace and vocals come across as unhinged and deranged as they howl and wail away. There’s some nice fetid death grunts and a feudal sounding guitar melody coming from this that takes it right back to early Scandinavian black metal roots and gives it a great sense of authenticity. The production is a bit on the muddy side making it feel like wading through tar listening to it but this suits it well and makes the bass sounds heavy in the definition rather than it being an exercise in treble heavy and tinny black metal. At full pace it surges away with guitar whiplashing and as it settles the rhythm is suitably bouncy and although the band are all about saluting death it’s all pretty well full of life. ‘Black Hole Soul’ is a desolate and mournful abyss to gaze into, vocals sound tortured as though they are cursing very existence and the sharp guitar tones incessantly gnaw away still very much full of melody. I guess similarities should be looked at and this reminds a bit of a combination of bands such as Horna, Taake and even in places Drudkh. A sudden guitar solo squeals away slightly off key and a surprise addition before a reverbing grunt takes us back into those classic sounding riffs.
BRF seem to have no problem keeping tracks flowing for anything up to the ten minute mark as next number ‘Liberation’ proves. It keeps attention well after starting with a folky sort of vibe about it and the smell of imminent victory in its jaunty melody. Perhaps the band have found what they are looking for “give us liberty or give us death’ either way they cannot really lose! It builds upon repetition of the riffing but ultimately does not bore, maybe this is partly as the band have a good sense when it comes to actually honing a tune but also no doubt it’s helped by singer B.R.F’s increasingly eccentric vocal stance. There is also a sense of mystery and you never know quite when some strange sound or solo is going to seep into things and momentarily take over.
Blood Red Fog are certainly not going to do anything like reinvent the wheel although they may take it straight back to the drawing board and accidently make it square. The music is primitive and pretty much gives exactly what you would expect. That said On Death’s Wings’ is ultimately an engaging listen for lovers of raw black metal.
(7/10 Pete Woods)