Thursday, May 29, 2014

Appalachian Winter - Silence Before the Great Mountain Wind

Epic black metal is probably my favorite of all genres because of the way it's constructed. It's more like classical music than anything else and it's that classical sound that gives certain bands that epic feeling. Then we have the lyrics of this type of music and they are usually based on nature, especially winter and the colder more grim aspects of nature. I currently live in the mountains of western Pennsylvania which is part of the Appalachian range and it just so happens that I found a one man band from not far from me that actually creates epic and cold black metal, with lyrics that relate to the mountains that we both call home.

Appalachian Winter is the brainchild of Schellsburg, PA resident Daniel Klyne, who plays all instruments as well as the vocals. His music is provided to metal fans for free and his first album, Silence Before the Great Mountain Wind, was released in August of 2008. The music is epic black metal, and is sometimes considered symphonic black metal but, to me, this band has more in common with Moonsorrow than with Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir. So what we have here music that just reminds you of the frozen mountains with lyrics that match the music to provide the total experience. The album opener is the title track and you immediately feel the cold and winter in this music. A slower more melodic song we do see some blasts and melodic tremolo riffs interspersed throughout the song. Ten minutes in length this song tells a story of how living in this region in the winter can be unforgiving and desolate. The keyboards provide the atmosphere as well as the backing vocal chants throughout the song. Appalachian Winter is not just a cool band name, that is what this band and album are all about.

The music on this album can be hypnotizing as it segues from soft, acoustic passages to blasting metal but it does it without sacrificing the melody and it's the melodic riffs and vocals that truly take this album to another level. "Into the Abode of Wolves" is a straight up black metal song that starts with an acoustic passage then blasts right into the tremolos with the grim vocals sounding like something straight out of Norway in1992. "Windstorm" hits you the same way with it's cold, grim sound that blasts you as if you are in the middle of a blizzard. In contrast you have "Forest of a Thousand Ghosts" that takes you on a journey through the wilderness that makes up this forbidden landscape. As you listen you feel yourself there in the story the song is relating to you. The riffing goes from some thrashers to melodic tremolos and the keys adds another dimension to this song. Clocking in at a little over eight minutes this epic song is one of my favorites of the genre due to the sheer beauty of it. "The Mountain in Stone" is a cool concept because the lyrics are basically the mountains speaking to you. More of a straight up metal number, you can still feel the sheer epic nature of this band. Once again, you are part of the music, not just listening to it.

Every once in a while you come across a band that can bring something special to the table and this is one of those bands. Mr. Klyne lives in the Appalachian mountains and it shows in his music. Like his Scandinavian counterparts, he creates music and lyrics that speak of his environment. I love it because finally you don't have to live in Norway to feel the icy cold of winter in black metal but instead I can relate to the harsh landscapes and unforgiving lands that made the music from across the pond so special. Winters in this region are now immortalized by this amazing and special music. I love it, you should too.


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