Hailing from the Netherlands Alburnum brings us their debut offering Buitenlucht a folkish and atmospheric ode to the rustic woods that surround them. Sporting drawn out atmospheric riffs, rustic drums, and dreaded vocals, its a rather textbook approach to a timeless sound. The tone of this album is rather somber, almost having a nostalgic take on nature and all its glory.
For an album just being under 29 and a half minutes, it feels longer, the drawn out atmospheric riffs and repetitive drumming, with some slight folk variances here and there, are able to truly immerse you in its own little world. Creating a dark yet fantastic wooded land in the mind’s eye. There are some nice touches here and there that really cement that home town folk atmosphere with acoustic guitar passages featuring mandolins and accordions, and even those instruments mixing in with some of the black metal parts creating for a unique take. Each track stands on its own very well, like spinning a new tale each time.
The album is rather textbook, if you’ve heard previous ‘atmospheric black metal with folk influences’ then you’ve heard aspects of this elsewhere. The guitar riffs just repeating over and over and usually the drums are stuck on the blast beats, almost reminiscent of Wolves in the Throne Room. While not necessarily a bad thing, it can get a little tiring, and as mentioned before, it really makes the album feel a lot longer than it is, which can be a double edged blade. The last track on the album is truly my favorite. Titled, Fluisterend Water, it captures I think what the band does best in one 8 minute package. It balances the repeating riffs and blast beats with some note changes later on in the middle, but what is really charming is the outro for the track, a soft acoustic passage that captures the original riff of the album and really drives home what they were going for here. I almost prefer the acoustic side of this band more than I do the black metal side, but that’s just personal preference.
All in all its a solid release with a rather approachable production and sound that I think can be liked by even the most casual of black metal listeners. Its dark, moody, atmospheric and captures that rustic medieval folk vibe that makes this album seem all that much more ‘cozy’ with a lack of a better word to describe it. If there was a season to describe such an album like this, it’d be in that in between of autumn and summer where the sun is starting to set earlier yet the hazy heat still surrounds you and grips you in its muggy embrace.. Give it a listen, you might find something to take away from it for sure.