Irwell is the full-length debut from UK black metal act Cold Fell, a five-piece band comprised of Karl Sveinsson (guitar), Giovanni Infantino (guitar), Callum Cox (drums), Oliver Edward Turner (bass), and Laurence Taylor (vocals and lyrics). The album contains seven tracks dripping with atmosphere as well as harsh brutality, the band channeling the Norwegian legends of old, as well as some of the modern black metal acts of Finland and the US. The excellent "Skull Crushed Against Salford Cobblestones" kicks things off in a big way, the creepy soundscapes floating through moments of icy tranquility before evil rasps, punishing blast beats, and mountainous riffs obliterate everything in sight. "Bone Ceiling" offers no such variety, basically four minutes of rampaging violence, while "Folly (Health And Glory)" sees Taylor spewing his venom over a cavalcade of effective, dark riffing and plenty of blasting. Kudos to Turner here, whose bass is upfront in the mix on most of these songs, something you don't always experience enough of on modern black metal albums. The two part "Spleen" reminds at times of Dark Funeral, from the vocals all the way to the delicious tremolo picked riffs (and plenty of melody to boot!), but the real surprise is the doom laden mix of black & death metal on the monstrous "The Whip (Armed to the Teeth)", just a heavy, heavy song with so many changes of pace and tempo, easily another main highlight on Irwell. Turner's bass once again amazes on the furious closer "Dream of Seppuku" (great title), a near 9-minute example of blistering, cold, and brutal black metal. The maniacal screams of Taylor battle the relentless blasting from Cox and the dual guitar attack every step of the way, a fierce barrage of drama, power, and crushing brutality, signaling an end to this very effective album.
Argento Records have themselves quite the winner here with Irwell, a black metal album that any genre fan would be well advised to seek out. Cold Fell have arrived!
1. Skull Crushed Against Salford Cobblestones 08:29
2. Bone Ceiling 04:15
3. Folly (Health And Glory) 05:09
4. Spleen i. (In Vino Veritas) 05:38
5. Spleen ii. (Bruised Like Fruit) 01:56
6. The Whip (Armed to the Teeth) 06:02
7. Dream of Seppuku 08:39