Olde Throne, a Black Metal band from New Zealand, has recently released their second full-length album titled “In the Land of Ghosts”. The band’s first album was themed around the Great Famine in Ireland, while their latest release centers around the old ghost tales of Scotland (hence the title “In the Land of Ghosts”). According to the band’s Bandcamp page, they describe the album with the following statement:
“In the Land of Ghosts” is a collection of ghost stories and dark tales from a land bountiful of which. From the headless horseman of the House of Dun to the ghost soldiers still fighting in the wooded gorge of Killiecrankie.
Their debut album, ‘An Gorta Mór’, was an excellent start, and I had it on repeat for a while, which is always a good sign. So, without further ado, here is my review of the album.
The new album contains 9 tracks, with the ninth track being a bonus track and a remaster of the demo song “An Torr”. The playtime of the albums is 48 minutes.
- House of Dun
- Skara Brae
- Cliffs of Culzean
- The Curse of Alloa Tower
- Greyfriars Kirkyard
- An Torr (Bonus Track)
If you’re a fan of Atmospheric Black Metal, then this album is a must-listen for you. The entire album oozes atmosphere, with effects like a roaring fireplace and the use of instruments like bagpipes, Uilleann pipes (which are Irish bagpipes), and flutes. It all comes together in a neat little package.
Bonus points go to the band for including the lyrics of all the songs on Bandcamp. I appreciate when bands add lyrics, and especially when they’re about topics I enjoy, like the Ghost stories featured on this album.
Musically, the new album is a continuation and improvement of their debut album. The vocals are fitting for each song, and there are layers to them, so they don’t sound monotone. The drums are great also, the drums on the first album are taken care of by Hymir (member of Sickle of Dust and since 2022 of Vorga) and Hugo Ribeiro, the drums on the second album are done by Quentin Forster. For me, personally I like the drums on the second album more, but that’s just a personal preference.
Whether Forster played the drums or programmed them, they sound great on the album. Everything is well-composed and mixed, and every instrument is precisely where it should be in the arrangement.
‘Isobel’ is the third track on the album and tells the story of Isobel Gowdie, a famous witch from Scotland who was burned at the stake in 1661 after her trial.
In the square
They build a pyre
Starts to rise
The song begins with a folk tune and sets a great Celtic atmosphere. The folk part is arranged by Stavros Stavrou, and he did an impressive job; it sounds marvelous. After a while, the drums and guitars join in and bring the entire track together, with the vocals being the cherry on top. As the song progresses, a pyre is built in the square, and blackened smoke starts to rise.
The fourth song, ‘Cliffs of Culzean’, is another highlight of the album. It tells the ghost story of the Piper of Piper’s Brae, who volunteered to investigate sightings of ghosts in a cave below the cliffs. He entered the cave playing his pipe, but was never seen again, and according to stories, you can still hear the piper playing the pipe from below.
And through the years
His song still plays
From the ground below
On Piper’s Brae
The song begins with bagpipes playing and the sound of waves crashing on the shore and cliff, setting the scene for the story. After a minute or so, the guitars and drums join in, and the icy vocals of the track tell the story of the Piper. The drums on this track are fast and keep the rhythm going, much like the never-ending sound of the waves crashing on the shore.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, if you’re into Atmospheric Black Metal, then this album is definitely worth checking out. I have no doubt in my mind about that. And for those who aren’t familiar with the genre, I encourage you to give it a try. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it as well.
You can listen to the album below, and if you like what you hear, be sure to purchase it in your preferred format on Bandcamp or through their label’s webshop.
Bandcamp: In the Land of Ghosts | Olde Throne (bandcamp.com)
Facebook: Olde Throne | Facebook
Instagram: OLDE THRONE (@oldethrone) • Instagram photos and videos
Label: Welcome to Naturmacht Productions & Rain Without End Records official website