This week I’m not writing a review of an album, today I want to talk to you about a band. They are a duo from southern Sweden: Gina doing vocals and playing guitar and bass, and Ulf playing drums, guitar and bass and also doing backing vocals. They are Black Birch and believe me when I tell you they are one of the most impressive new bands I’ve listened to lately.
This past Friday, August 25th, these guys released a new single, “Death”, and let me tell you a bit about this band…
Black Birch was formed in December 2022, and since then they have been releasing one song every month in their Bandcamp site, AND they are going to release an EP physically in vinyl, via Fiadh Productions (US) and Vita Detestabilis Records (Europe), on September 1st. They play Atmospheric Black Metal loaded with tons of emotion, cold, evoking desolate landscapes… and also they can show their most furious side, with plenty of blast beats, dark guitar melodies and shrieking vocals.
I have kind of a love story with Black Birch. I remember listening to the first song they released, it was called “Weak”, and instantly saying, “I can’t believe this is the debut song by a band!”. Because they sounded so good, intense, dark, the atmosphere was perfect, it was so well produced… I must highlight the wild vocals by Gina, it gives me chills! What a way to start…
That was on January 31st. I found myself waiting for the next song to be released. And so, on February 24th, Black Birch released their second single, “Fallen”, almost 7 minutes of the most touching Atmospheric Black Metal I had listened to lately. Guitars “talking about” a foggy and frozen landscape, whispering softly in your ear at first, intensifying their weight after a bit, with the help of blasting drums and those inhuman screams… The rhythm part is simply delicious, there’s so much beauty in the most desperate and full of grief songs!
“Scour” was their third single, released on March 31st, and it’s another intense track created by the Swedish duo. I find myself feeling anger, suffering, torment, but also relief and even a victorious sentiment just by listening to this song. Like a rollercoaster of emotions. When some music can make me feel like this, it’s pure love for me. And of course, I wanted more…
… and I had it. More ethereal atmosphere, more desperate vocals, more riffs in an ice cold tone, more blast beats… All these things formed “Soil”, the fourth song to see the light on April 28th. The soft passages bring you the calm you need to face the imminent outburst of raging storm. This song starts placid, and for a minute you think this one is going to be like an oasis but it’s not. As soon as Gina starts screaming, you feel the anguish her voice contains. You become part of the storm, you have been sent to it. And feels good. I love how drums can be (almost) constantly playing hard and I feel lost, at the same time mesmerized by guitars and their wicked tremolo riffs.
New month, new song by Black Birch. On May 26th “Havoc” landed in their Bandcamp, and this is a short track but it’s damn strong! No time for slow down tempos, everything is fast here. Blast beats, more blast beats please! Some of the darkest riffs by the band are in this song, and vocals deliver as sick as usual.
“Wry” was released on June 30th and right from the start you can “touch” the atmosphere, guitars and drums building the hazy path until Gina starts screaming and everything turns wild. I love the passage near the middle where guitars sound menacing and drums patterns guide you in your search for a breath.
And on July 28th the band dropped “Prey”, damn this is intense! Instruments and vocals entwine creating a thick, opaque fabric. The resultant sound is not chaotic but really overwhelming. The vocal outbursts by Gina put an extra amount of aggression, the hypnotic guitars in the final minute of this track are particularly alluring, and even more when pulverizing drums join the party.
As I said at the beginning, this past Friday the duo released “Death”, a hypnotic and relentless track. I’m still wondering how Gina and Ulf can sound so damn good, as if they had been doing this since a lot of years ago… They are really passionate with their music and it is shown in their songs. The production is excellent, which also helps the final product.
I can’t stop recommending Black Birch, specially if you love Atmospheric Black Metal don’t miss their songs. Besides their Bandcamp site, they are about to release a vinyl (12’’ EP) on September 1st containing 4 tracks, “Fallen”, “Soil” plus two more songs. So, if you are a vinyl person, run to their Bandcamp to do the preorder, in case you are still on time!
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