Various Artists

Whom the Moon a Nightsong Sings

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This haunting two-CD set compiles acoustic-based, melancholy tracks by a variety of black metal, folk-metal, and experimentally minded metal bands from the European scene. Some tracks, like Empyrium's "The Days Before the Fall," recall Blue Öyster Cult in the way they go from gently picked acoustic guitars to louder sections with prominent keyboard lines underpinning the hard rock riffs; others, like the rare Ulver song "Synen," aren't metal at all, but soft, almost madrigal-like folk melodies, with mournful strings and choral vocals. There are lots of strings, and Scandinavian traditional drums, to be heard, and some tracks, like Musk Ox's "Solstice" and October Fall's "Viima," blend nature sounds with the music. This is a perfect album to put on during a long winter night, but those looking to bang their heads will be sorely disappointed.

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