This seems as obscure as it gets. A guy from Chile with a Scandinavian name and an American from St Louis, Missouri have released their debut ep of pagan black metal. I read that this ep “Of Forsworn Vows” is on cassette and limited to 50 copies. It appears that as Æra are now associated with a label, the availability may improve so perhaps you don’t have to hurry so much to get a copy.

This is like going back in time. “An Affirmation of Forsworn Vows” is frosty, lumpy, crusty and has that whistling sound that you used to get with early black metal, amongst others Dimmu Borgir’s “For All Tid”. The guitar and drum sound is withering and merciless. A storm whips up and the obscure growls now accompany fire and fury. Mysterious moans float through the air. “Litany of Iron I: Ancient Graves of the Fallen” follows a similar pattern. Grey and bleak to start with, the mid section introduces fire before the tempo drops down and the slaughter and horror are more stretched out and measured. “Wulvsära (Am Ende der Zeit)” is the final act. More robust and driving than the previous two, it takes us through numerous dark and atmospheric soundscapes. The whistling backdrop returns, and adds fuel to the energetic menace and malevolence.

I can’t say this short work changed my life but I can say that there’s plenty of intensity and intent here. “Of Forsworn Vows” is like a trip back to the dark old days.

(6.5/10 Andrew Doherty)