Beorn’s Hall hail from New Hampshire in the U.S, and is a duo with just 2 years of existence to their names. They formed in 2016 and have only released one other full length, ‘Mountain Hymns’, prior to their latest release, ‘Estuary’.

There are just 2 members in the camp, Vulcan on drums and vocals, with Rognvaldr taking up the duties of guitars, bass and keyboards.

‘Estuary’ opens up with a two minute plus intro, built around a mysterious and ominous façade, with crackles and burning fires a plenty, and a sound which conjures up an image of a desolate monastery standing in solitude amidst bleakness and wilderness.

‘Dark Wood-Black Marsh’ kicks in with hellish vocals and more than competent fretwork which leads into an all-out aural assault. The track is almost theatrical at times with the vocals very reminiscent of some true Norwegian screeches and howls, and there are injections of acoustic guitar work which is almost pagan in its approach.

Track three, and the title track, ‘Estuary’, opens with an organ, which leads into an almost upbeat tune, until the guitars and drums kick in creating power and venom, whilst still keeping the joviality as a back bone to the track. Throughout the track there are plenty of screams and screeches which keep the duo on track as a respected black metal combo.

The rest of the album continues in the same vain a strange twisted black metal world that they have emerged into, keeping the key elements that we would expect from a black metal release, yet throwing in elements of pagan and twisted minds

‘Call To Ravens’ throws a curveball and the acoustic guitar is utilised again. The song then kicks into overdrive once more. If you weren’t in the know you would swear that there was more than just the 2 souls putting the effort into create these beasts, it’s just a shame that the majority of the album becomes a little samey and repetitive, although there are elements of genius in and amongst the mundane.

‘I Know Your Rider’ is at the lighter end of the spectrum on the album and there is no heaviness throughout although it keeps transporting you back into the less demonic side of the world of the black arts.

The final track, ‘Roads Go On Forever’ starts with some spoken word, and the drums then lead into a melodic tuneful song with true raw black metal vocals. The track, and indeed the album, ends with peaceful bird song which seems a little out of place compared to the majority of the album.

The band cites the majesty of the glorious New Hampshire landscapes and coastal life as heavy influence on the album, and if you sit back and close your eyes, you are certainly transported to the land that they speak of, just with a healthy portion of confusion as a side.

(6/10 Phil Pountney)