Just when you thought there were no genres left to combine, up pops Ohio act Untamed Land with Scandinavian riffs and a cowboy hat, delivering an album that sounds like the soundtrack to The Good, The Bad & The Ugly if it had been written by Satyricon.
Fusing black metal with a cinematic spaghetti western score, Like Creatures Seeking their Own Form (Napalm Records) is the follow up to 2018’s similarly themed independent release Between the Winds, this latest musical adventure from sole member Patrick Kern (Emerald Rage) guaranteed to delight or confuse. Or, most likely, both.
The gentle music box introduction of ‘Once Upon a Time in the Kenoma’ recalls Italian composer Stelvio Cipriani (Guns for Dollars, The Silent Stranger), the plaintive brass and orchestra combining with that thrilling Ennio Morricone style western guitar as you picture a poncho-clad, stubble-chinned Clint Eastwood riding into the hills. Shimmering heat quickly gives way to snowy mountains on ‘A Nameless Shape’, its piano-infused cold black metal riffs and harsh, rasping vocals reflecting its lonely, moon-shrouded lyrical content as the song snakes its way through slow passages and bursts of speed, bolstered further by some excellent bass guitar work and operatic backing vocals.
Opening quietly with clean guitar and organ keys, ‘Clothed in Smoke’ goes on to feature chugging riffs of varying tempos and moods, snarling vocals and high pitched tremolo picking – not to mention violin, banjo and native American tribal drumming which blend together, building towards a dramatic, discordant conclusion. ‘The Heavenly Coil’ is a brooding affair consisting of classic Scandinavian black metal riffing, early Dimmu Borgir style piano keys and quietly ethereal backing vocals. Another song to never stay in the same place too long, the sweeping fifteen minute epic ebbs and flows with razor sharp guitar riffs, a church organ and clean vocals plus a jaunty climax involving violin, Hammond organ, a pulsating bass and even bongos. Concluding in style, the record carries you off into the sunset with orchestral outro ‘Achamōth’.
Featuring violin performances by Rita Torrens and vocal contributions from Caroline Joy and Jacob Wherley, the scale of Untamed Land is already growing at an exponential rate, Like Creatures Seeking Their Own Form proving to be an early bold step forward in the band’s evolution.
Buy the album here: https://untamedland.bandcamp.com/album/like-creatures-seeking-their-own-forms
8 / 10