By Dr. Abner Mality

A gloomy bit of frosty melancholy for those who find perverse pleasure in sitting outside during a soaking November rain. Cold Northern Vengeance is a one man BM project (yes, we’re still getting those in 2015) that creates a homely, dreary form of black metal. And it is nowhere near as bad as most depressive one man BM bands I hear.

Imagine what Pete Steele would have been like as a pagan black metalist and that’s what you have with Cold Northern Vengeance. The deep Goth vocals of Heathen automatically give this a much different feel than most black metal with screeching, troll-like vocals. Nor is speed a major part of the equation here. Only “The Darkness of Once Was” brings the hammer down with some orthodox fast black metal and because this is not the template for the album, it stands out all the more. Most of CNV’s material is slow, Gothic and depressing, based on simple riffs and moaning vocals. The low fi production accentuates the kind of drizzly gloom. There are some nice, almost beautiful moments in “Pierced by the Tree” and “Seeker of Secrets”, but “Waxing and Waning” leans too much on clichéd Gothic Bauhausery for my taste. The similarity to Pete Steele here is a bit too much as well.

The album ends with a rather pompous ambient cut called “Paradox”, but I have to give props for the brilliant use of the “Dark Shadows” theme music here. I wonder if they are getting a cut of royalty from Mr. Heathen?

“Maelstrom” is not a gut-ripping or church burning black metal experience but rather something much more solemn. It’s an interesting release.