Genre: Epic Metal Symphonic Black Metal Symphonic Metal
Label: Nine Gates Records
American epic symphonic black metal band Appalachian Winter has recently released its new album, entitled “The Epochs That Built the Mountains“. The band was formed back in 2008 as the personal project of D.G. Klyne from Schellsburg, Pennsylvania, who composed and played everything with the help of few guest members from time to time. As a one-man-band, he had already released 5 full-length albums, one EP and a split album until 2013. In their sixth album however, Appalachian Winter come with a complete line-up for the first time, with Randy Smith on guitars and Mike O’Brien on midi choirs. “The Epochs That Built the Mountains” was released on November 9, 2014 via Nine Gates Records, the label that released their last album too.
The band continues on its very personal sound that D.G. Klyne has built all these years. Epic nature-inspired symphonic metal with elements of symphonic black metal. This new work sounds however even more melodic than before, with a very grandiose bombastic, yet melancholic atmosphere and an almost epic film score approach. Appalachian Winter’s music in this album is clearly synth-based and their guitars have most of the time an accompanying rhythmic role. Their sound is dominated by epic majestic keyboards that carry out all the melodies and by Danny’s characteristic singing that moves between black metal screams and his own personal style of clean vocals; something like a combination of epic and power metal with operatic vocals and a lot of passion! Their production is slightly improved, still retaining this distinct “blurry echo” in their sound. This time the music is a bit calmer than before and despite the often changes of tempo and mood, I think this is one of their most solid works. Of course there are still many symphonic black metal passages in the album and the band continues to experiment with various other genres, but the overall atmosphere is now closer to epic symphonic metal. Furthermore the acoustic instruments, widely used in the previous album, are now reduced, leaving even more space to the synths. Like all of their 5 previous full-length albums, “The Epochs That Built the Mountains” includes exactly 9 songs! It’s total duration is a little less than 51 minutes with all songs moving between 5 and 6 minutes. The lyrical concept of the album is once again about the Appalachian nature, focusing more on the beauty and wilderness of its mountains.
“The Epochs That Built the Mountains” is an album that will satisfy most of their fans, since it keeps the best elements of the band and at the same time offers something different. It seems that the coming of Mike O’Brien on midi choirs has affected their orchestrations, giving them a more symphonic touch. Even if I’d prefer a cleaner and less “synth-loaded / distorted” sound, I have to admit that Appalachian Winter have a really unique personal style, totally distinctive from the first to the last minute of this album. This personal sound on the other hand, makes their music very difficult to describe. Luckily enough, they offer their complete discography for free on their official Bandcamp page, so you can judge for yourselves, following the links below. For those of us who still like the physical product, “The Epochs That Built the Mountains” is also available in a 6-panel digipak CD edition, including all the lyrics, released by Nine Gates Records.