Warmoon Lord - Battlespells [Werewolf Records - 2021]
Some musicians feel cramped within the framework of one project or a single genre. One such Finnish sound-maker is Juuso Peltola aka Lord Vrajitor, whose most is known for his Dungeon Synth project Old Sorcery. In 2019 he founded the black metal side project Warmoon Lord. Releasing its debut album Burning Banners of the Funereal War in the same year. This was followed a year later by a split album with Vultyrium. And now, in 2021, Werewolf Records release the projects second full-length album Battlespells. It’s presently released as a CD, and digital download- though there will be a vinyl pressing later on this year.
The album cover is typical of classic black metal art. Against the backdrop of wooded mountains, there is a burning tower visible, a bloody river flows, across which a bridge is built. In the foreground, a group of medieval knights can be seen. Above them rises a horseman in a horned helmet and with an inverted cross on his cuirass. At the top of the cover is the project logo, presented in black and dark beige. The logo is a stylized Gothic letters combined with dragon wings and several symbols. At the very bottom of the cover, the title of the album is written in beige Gothic script. Covers in this style have always carried a lot of infantilism, as they were most prevalent in the early days of BM. So it carries a tone, which brings to mind old school classic black metal.Sergey Pakhomov
The album runs at just over thirty-eight minutes and consists of seven tracks. The first track “Virtus Tenebrisis” is an instrumental composition. With-in seconds, it’s clear that there is no classic raw BM sound here. The guitar sound is quite soft and supported by atmospheric keys. Throughout the track, there is a simple but very catchy melody that reminded me of Burzum from around Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, backed up by an almost trad Heavy Metal lead guitar. Though don’t let this track fool you, as all the other tracks featuring vocals are in a different style- ie fast-paced atmospheric black metal with a powerful keyboard background. One exception to this rule is "The Key of the Moonpiercer"- which is half dungeon Synth and half BM, with a focus on medieval and folk aesthetics. Each composition has several different rhythmic and tempo sections and, accordingly, different melodic lines. Considering that the main project of Lord Vrajitor is the DS-oriented Old Sorcery, it is not surprising that the tracks contain a large number of melodies. Each are fairly simple and predictable, but they work very well. Along with the melodic lines, the album contains fairly typical BM guitar sound/ and riffs. So as a result I can hear traces of other bands work such as Burzum, Dissection, Emperor, Cradle Of Filth, Bal Sagoth, Summoning, Dark Funeral, Parnassus. Though that’s not to say Warmoon Lord wholesale steal melodies/ riffs, it’s just I can hear others sonic traces here.
The overall production of the album seems very sharp and clean. The guitar, supported by keyboards, is incredibly soft and pleasant. The drum parts are recorded clearly. I also really liked the vocal lines. The vocalist uses a classical technique for this style, with slight variations. The whole album is played clearly and accurately. As a result, Battlespells turned out to be a solid and rather melodic album with a nice and clean, almost sterile sound.
So, in finishing, I'm a little confused as I did like Battlespells, but I'm unsure I’ll play it much down the line. I loved the two previous Warmoon Lord releases. Although the quality of the sound on them somewhat controversial - they had more atmosphere, honesty and, I know it sounds silly, darkness. For me, Battlespells is a good, but not a great album.