Review Summary: Melodic melancholic mid tempo epic ambient black metal. The release is short and some may find the two songs here too similar for their tastes, and the release in general too short. At the same time the showing here gives hope for growth on future release
Ered Wethrin is a band driven by the guy behind Lustre
. It just so happens that two bands playing similar styles with this same name released their first CDs in 2014, this is not the same band that released the full length just to clear confusion. The style of music here was advertised as atmospheric / epic black metal with ambient elements, which prompted me to order a copy. The CD that arrived in the mail has only two tracks on it, and had rather nice packaging / layout for a self released album. Being self released I was a bit wary of production values affecting the quality of the album but that is not the case here. The 20 minutes of material here are produced very professionally and indeed this is from a sheer recording perspective a very high quality first reverse.
The first track opens with a mid-paced tempo that is led by a melancholic and yet heroic guitar melody, which is reintroduced nicely about 5 minutes into the track. The thick heavy string / horn chords in the background are very high in the mix and give a soothing quality to the music here. In general this album sans vocals is a very pleasing listen, definitely not something for those into more aggressive raw black metal. The vocals are rather low in the mix, and are rasped and high. They are done pretty well though they do lack some punch and sound a bit thin and not filled out. Several purely ambient sections are also found here that remind heavily of Summoning with a basic kick / snare drum rhythm, flowing chords in the background, and a heroic keyboard melody on top. This first track does a very good job of producing a melancholic feel that still has the epic elements you'd expect from a band that features lyrics inspired by Tolkien (The lyrics here being influenced by the Silmarillion).
The second track follows the same formula as the first track with the same backing keyboard chords creating a canvas for a guitar melody, which again has a sort of sad determined-ness to it. The sparse lyrics here tell a story that the music has melodically been telling and building towards:
No song or tale could contain all the grief and terror that then befell.
All song ceased.
There was silence in Valinor, and no sound could be heard
After the vocals another ambient section follows similar to that of the first song. This leads me to the main critique this album should receive. Both songs are very similar and there is only 20 minutes of material so either you will like all of the music here or none of it. Indeed there is little more to say here about the musical aspects of this album that I can think of. The lack of variation works alright over 20 minutes but it would be nice for the band to try and expand it's sound with different arrangements, structures and tempos, or even adding more layers of harmony or polyphony to the equation. The best way to view this would be a teaser for further material and expansion on this sound, which is okay for a first release. The music is definitely written well and the melodies work well with the album concept, and should be welcomed by all atmospheric / ambient black metal fans as a showing of promise of a newcomer to the genre. At the same time the similarities of the two songs present here may make you question if this band may be a one trick pony.