From a pure weather standpoint, winter has completely sucked where I live. We have had one major snowfall. Beyond that, we’ve been treated to a few nuisance snows and a whole lot of really mild days that feel like a combination of March and October. Considering this is a time where I visit a lot of specific music based on the season, it’s been a disappointing stretch where my mind has been left confused.
If the cold weather ever truly returns this season, I have a bank of music ready to go so I can enjoy while I watch the flakes falls. One of those is the stunning debut record “I” from Fuath, the new project from Scottish musician Andy Marshall. This has everything one needs when the ground is covered, you’re trapped inside, and you have no worries other than what kind of dark beers will be enjoyed during it all. I was pleased when I went through the bio materials and learned that Marshall also had winter in mind when making these songs, which meant I was on some sort of same wavelength. The music is atmospheric, frosty, majestic, and melancholic, and it puts me in the mood to embrace the cold winds and get swept away on mental adventures.
Marshall has been making music in all different realms of metal for years. His other current project is the folk-tinged black metal Saor, who you need to seek out now if their music is foreign to you. He also was a member of Falloch, a band that still claims a place in my heart, as well as many others, and here, he is blending all sorts of different shades and colors into his concoction. There are long, swirling passages that could arrest you and have you staring, almost the way your brain can trick you into thinking you’re spinning while driving through a blizzard. There also are harsher element, furious growls that are situated underneath everything, and the four songs here create a hypnotic, repetitive (in a good way) scene that envelops you.
“In the Halls of the Hunter” blasts open, putting an explosive burst at the front of this 9:04 track. The growls are buried beneath the din, with gorgeous, sweeping melodies charging in, and heaviness piling on. The pace drills pretty hard, but then it’s onto majestic wonder, with the growls rushing into the melodies, the elements cascading like a storm, and the track disappearing into a misty cloud. “Blood” runs 10:34, and it punishes right off the bat. The sounds here are elegant in spots, with the playing gushing feelings and colors. There is a strong ignition later on, bringing a force along with it, and the blistering drumming and vicious growls deliver a sense of violence. A numbing vortex of sound emerges, pushing you back and forth, and then calm arrives, letting the air settle before a final assault kicks up and ends the track in a rage.
“The Oracle” has the music washing over everything, with the vocals bubbling underneath, and the tempo surging ahead. There is a flush of melody that bursts like a swelling stream, feeling rich and adventurous and leading into a long, pulsating section. Your mind is tingling and later swimming as the layers thicken, and while the storm holds up and seems ready to depart, it’s actually just about to make its final push and drive the song to its burning conclusion. The 11:58 closer “Spirit of the North” seems aptly titled as it churns frost at the start, with the growls bursting and sounding ominous, and the song taking on a wintry rush. The riffs pierce and cut before power blows in, the growls get thicker and more forceful, and a dizzying stretch begins. From there, the riffs gallop hard, the dust-up from the march hovers overhead, and all of the clubbing makes one last stand before fading away.
Marshall’s work over the years is unquestioned, and Fuath is perfect for the colder months where you want to wrap yourself in warmth in front of a crackling fire and imagine trudging through the forest. “I” is an excellent adventure, one that conjures an icy environment that pelts you with power and emotion. It’s another riveting step in Marshall’s creative path, one that will warm the heart if the cold air and snow ever decided to arrive in full.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/fuathmusic
To buy the album, go here: http://www.neuroparecords.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.neuropa.be/site/