Although the casual listener may think it’s something strange or uncommon, in reality the marriage between extreme metal and classical music has been experienced by really many bands, and in some cases with very good results. As far as the German band Ferndal is concerned, the distinctiveness of their approach is that classical melodies aren’t just an additional flavour to their style of metal, but instead they constitute the real backbone of the music they play, as it’s further witnessed by the fact that the quintet has a cellist as a permanent member of the line-up.
I discovered Ferndal thanks to the suggestion of an expert connoisseur of the black metal world, and I’m absolutely grateful for her recommendation because she made me discover a truly intriguing version of melodic black metal that’s deeply rooted in the romantic music of the past centuries.
Singularitäten is the second album released by Ferndal, and it shows that the band has already achieved the capacity to balance the two main components of their style: melody and darkness. Taken individually, every song of the album is impeccable. But even on a more global level there is enough variety between the various tracks which makes the listening experience definitely rewarding, and it also guarantees longevity to the LP. Songs like Distanz or Weltenbrände are instant favorite, but is the overall level of quality that is very good. And thanks to the ubiquitous presence of catchy melodies, Singularitäten can also be a great entry point for those who’re not so familiar with European black metal.
If I had to highlight an area of improvement for the band, I would mention some uncertainty in recording and production. The sound of the rhythmic component, in particular, is far from being exciting. Raw and unrefined sounds, however, are among the common traits of black metal, and in the specific case of Ferden the combination of gorgeous classical melodies with rough and low-fi sounds generates an intriguing and very particular contrast.
My overall rating for the album is a convinced 7/10. There are really many songs which I liked in the LP, but my favorites in this moment are: Distanz, Weltenbrände and the instrumental Serenade.