In His Granite Realm

Beorn's Hall

BEORN'S HALL are an American Black Metal band, from Seabrook, New Hampshire, with Folk, Pagan, […]
By Santiago Puyol
May 1, 2019
Beorn's Hall - In His Granite Realm album cover

BEORN'S HALL are an American Black Metal band, from Seabrook, New Hampshire, with Folk, Pagan, Death, Doom and Prog Metal influences. They define their style as Ancient Black Metal and the moniker surely fits the music. "In His Granite Realm" is filled with mysterious and mystical music, evoking pastoral landscapes and rumbling thunderstorms.

The album adheres to a long format song structure, a Prog-influenced approach to songwriting that includes multi-section tracks, with several transitions and some changes in tempo, time signature and overall feel. Four of the six tracks last from ten to thirteen minutes, while only two of them are around the three-minute mark: mid-album breather "Berglmir (The Call from Beyond)" and instrumental closer "Bronze Age Spellcraft". The former is a homage to a friend of the band, Michael J. Cook, who died before the release of the album. On its own, it is an interesting vocal only track, but it feels more poignant knowing the circumstances of the release. "Bronze Age Spellcraft" is a space-y, folky instrumental that serves as a cool-off track at the end of an intense record.

Opener "Distant Torchers - Baldr's Theme" is probably the most successful track with the long format structure that most tracks take on here. It has a nice ambient intro that bleeds into a synth-heavy, folky sound. It has some interesting changes, the aggressive Black Metal vocal style makes a nice contrast against the lovely instrumentals and the band even manages to incorporate some well-placed, melodic organ and guitar solos. The song feels open and full of light even though it's truly violent and callous at the same time, conjuring images of nature on all its beauty and hostility.

The title track is another example of cohesive long song. It's especially noticeable as it's probably the heaviest song on the record, getting in full-on blast beat attack at several points. It still finds a moment to slow down and get into a mysterious groove around mid-point. The second half features some nice guitar soloing, too. The other two tracks are more hit or miss, with some of the transitions feeling clunky or weird. In that regard, it reminded me of early OPETH ("Orchid" and "Morningrise" mainly), not only for the folky and sometimes medieval vibe of the sound, but also for the rough and unpolished transitions.

"To Ride at Midnight" is the worst offender here, with several abrupt shifts in sound, such as its intro that falls-off out of nowhere, or the abrupt folkish section that drops in suddenly at about three and a half minutes. The last half of the song manages to keep it together though, falling into a nice groove with a nice bass pattern and an overall epic vibe, reminiscent of a videogame soundtrack. "Old Men of the Mountain" is more compact and cohesive in general, but still feels a tad unfocused and it could do without its acoustic coda. Regardless, the complex riffing and drumming on its last half is a highlight of the record.

The production is quite rough at times, but it clearly fits the music and most of the time actually adds to the overall feel of the record. The sound of the keyboards and vocals in particular gives the music a lo-fi, early nineties vibe, that seems to feed on nostalgia but frequently works. The album has a warm atmosphere to it, and it feels easy to listen to although it's rooted on extreme, abrasive and complex music. With a little focus on the songwriting department things could be looking great for BEORN'S HALL.

7 / 10









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"In His Granite Realm" Track-listing:

1. Distant Torches - Baldr's Theme
2. Old Men of the Mountains
3. Berglmir (The Call from Beyond)
4. To Ride at Midnight
5. In His Granite Realm
6. Bronze Age Spellcraft

Beorn's Hall Lineup:

Vulcan - Thunder
Rognvaldr - Lightning
Atterigner - Vocals on "To Ride at Midnight"
Michael J. Cook - Voice on "Berglmir (The Call from Beyond)"

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