Black metal, in all of its extremity, has always been about pushing boundaries, making the listener uncomfortable, and spreading any form of unease. So, too, does FEMINAZGÛL’s debut – released independently on 17 March 2020 – grip the listener with its frightening atmospheric sound and a strong sense of female rage that’s been waiting to be unleashed.
This eight-track debut really does not open as you’d expect it to, beginning with an ominous accordion sound that is soon joined by an absolutely haunting growl that sounds like it’s coming from a creature that has freshly crawled out of a grave. “Ilia, Mother of Death” is an intro of sorts, an opening into the bleak, sorrowful story that is this album. I do wish, however, it would pick up slightly in pace towards the latter half and step up from being an intro into a full-fledged furious black metal piece.
Lyrically, Margaret Killjoy’s writing is rather minimalistic but I have to say that I adore the song titles, which by themselves manage to create a special feeling. “The Rot in the Field is Holy” continues the dread, incorporating a violin and operatic backing vocals into a layered piece of musical beauty. “Bury the Antlers with the Stag” opens gently, but then takes off into a different direction, with fast-paced drumming and more of a second-wave-of-black-metal feel to it.
The vocals are quite raw and delivered very well by Laura Beach throughout the album, usually falling neatly into place with the atmospheric instrumentals, creating a haunting aura together.
The latter third of the album is composed of the beautiful piece, “Look Not to Erebor,” which has a bloody theremin played by Meredith Yayanos – and that in itself is cool – as well as two re-released songs from the EP “The Age of Men is Over.”
FEMINAZGÛL‘s debut is quite a work of art. It’s a fresh perspective in the often uninspired genre of black metal. I’m sure some might take issue with the band’s fairly political stance, but that’s really nothing new to the genre and is only treated as a novelty because it strays from the usual edgy anti-religious stance. “No Dawn for Men” is looking to be one of the strongest contenders for the best debut album of the year and I’m really excited to see where the band will go with future releases.
Written by Didrik Mešiček
- Ilia, Mother of Death
- I Pity the Immortal
- The Rot in the Field Is Holy
- Bury the Antlers with the Stag
- Forgiver, I Am Not Yours
- Look Not to Erebor
- To the Throat – No Dawn Version
- In the Shadow of Dead Gods – No Dawn Version
Laura Beach – vocals
Margaret Killjoy – all instruments