STORMCROW
"Wounded Skies"

(Dwell)

01. Keeping the Serpent's Path (intro)
02. Dark Promises (are always kept by Satan)
03. Wounded Skies
04. Demons
05. Anathems from our Martyrs' Graveland

RATING: 7/10

This one has been out for quite a while now, but was sent my way only recently. It's worth the cyber ink, so we'll knock it out regardless. With "Wounded Skies" Italy's STORMCROW slams through four songs and one intro of unforgiving black metal malice that will appeal to fans of speeding traditionalists like DARK FUNERAL and MARDUK. To the band's credit, they keep from writing the same song over and over gain, thanks to some skillful arrangement tweaks and the incorporation of often subtle, but wholly effective, tempo changes. At its core though "Wounded Skies" is vicious black metal played with blazing quickness and a hate-fueled attitude.

After the macabre sounds (complete with what I assume to be crow caws) of short instrumental opener "Keeping the Serpent's Path (intro)", the riffs crash down like thunder on "Dark Promises (are always kept by Satan)". Goofy title aside, the track blast beats the listener to death, but not without periodically switching to a speedy semi-gallop, effectively giving the song a bit more character. A pinch of melody in places and a threatening black metal guitar harmony makes the title track another strong effort. Some spooky bass picking erupts into nefarious rage on the "Demons", one more example of the band's ability to effectively alter the arrangement ever so slightly to separate it from the previous tracks. The fury continues on the disc closing "Anathems from our Martyrs' Graveland", which includes a quiet and chilling section of lightly picked guitar.

Eighteen minutes of STORMCROW is about right, as anything longer could become a tad redundant, unless of course the band continued adding a bit of spice to the songs. "Wounded Skies" is a solid, is unoriginal, work with a strong production to boot. It may work best as a quick blast of aggression to shake the cobwebs loose and make the cold morning ride to your shitty job a little more pleasant.

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