The second album by Germany’s Wolves Den is fine example of how to modernise black metal yet retain the hallmarks of the genre to record something that’s a bit different to the norm but sits conformably within the genre’s core parameters. The opening track typifies that approach with a bass and drum start that has a marching sensibility created by the snare rolling style and wafting guitar hook that drifts into the song. It listens like an intro before the song detonates into life with a brief but effective blasting section as the sections alternate with each other.

‘Pfad Ins Dunkel’ has an acoustic start with atmospheric enveloping via a keyboard like backing that produces a sorrowfulness as the track escalates in power. The eerie guitar melody is highly effective and hypnotic before the song intensifies into the blast beat. Even though the song is rocketing along that eerie guitar melody remains in situ, never wavering as it creates a creepiness that I particularly liked. That eeriness is a preferred structure throughout the album as ‘Nachtmahr’ has a symphonic style with backing choral vocals balancing the atmospheric riffing. The use of deeper vocals enhances the song to favour a more theatrical approach that links with the whispered harsh vocals that are also present.

Those atmospherics continue on ‘Antaois’ where the choral vocal style is brought to the front as the guitar work fades in majestically producing an epic tune that melodic black metallers will absolutely adore. As the song develops and intensifies the riff change is subtly executed as the double bass is lightly added to the song. With a drifting fade in ‘Melancholera’ amplifies the atmospheric charging hugely as the song has funereal like approach. The choral vocals again create the texturing and morosity before the song gradually increases in speed leaving ‘Nameless Grave’ to close this excellent album. Being slightly longer in length the opening sound of thunder maybe a cliché but it is effective in generating the ambience required for the melody that starts the song. With morphing tempos and mood the song is saturated in a gloominess initially, as a spoken voice is heard before the song fully reveals itself with exceptional power. The song is inundated with changes, from subtle riff changes to the obvious tempo shifts the track is massively epic and leaves the listener with no doubt that Wolves Den have released a cracking black metal release that sits within the melodic side of the genre and also the symphonic style too to some extent.

(8.5/10 Martin Harris)