VOTA REVIEW: Guthmers Hahl, White Medal

The UK's Black Metal scene is probably the strongest it's ever been at the moment, with a lot of creative and hard working bands consistently releasing inspiring and solid records (long gone are the embarrassing cringe worthy days of bands like cradle of filth) and no band is harder working than one man Black Metal Project White Medal and its unique brand of "Yorkshire Heathen Black Metal". The project is the brainchild of one of the most consistent and productive artists in the British Black Metal scene, Mr George Proctor, who whilst playing in various other projects and bands also manages to run his own distro and label at the same time (check out Vanyar, it's like the bastard child of Burzum & Summoning I shit you not). White Medal's no nonsense low-fi and often experimental sound really sets the band apart from its piers and through this approach manages to forge a sound that is truly unique and refreshing that has gained the band some serious acclaim in the underground.

Guthmers Hahl is the first full-length album from White Medal that comes after a fantastic string of splits and EPs and is the culmination of all the work that has come before it. The album is described as a dark inward glance and shudder towards this dying world through the medium of raw and oppressive Black Metal art. The production is very low-fi and has that magical hazy sound to it - somewhat distant yet all encompassing at the same time. It's difficult to describe White Medal's music as the tracks are at times chaotic with lots going on, littered with dirty riffs that evolve into these beautiful, uplifting and almost dream like sections full of contemplation and woe. The Vocals are oppressive, raw and very unique in their delivery and fit the music perfectly.

Another interesting thing about White Medal is that all of the lyrics are written in the Yorkshire dialect, which is certainly an intriguing concept and something unique within this misty islands Black Metal scene. The lyrics themselves deal with concepts of pride, culture, heathenism and rebirth. The stand out tracks for me are 'Skratje's Gate' and the album opener 'Return to Heathen Yorkshire', but the whole album is fantastic and really needs to be sat through in its entirety. As I said earlier the UK has some seriously good Black Metal bands at the moment, from Winterfylleth to Ninkharsag, but none embody it more in my opinion than White Medal. The no nonsense British punk DIY approach, the concept and ideas, the truly unique sound and George Proctors ability to embed himself in the scene with his fingers in many pies from bands to distribution this sort of thing is what makes a scene in the first place and keeps it healthy and thriving.
Guthmers Hahl is a fantastic album and if you haven't got yourself a copy yet head over to Legion Blotan Records and pick one up. It's available now on digi pack CD, LP and now for the first time on cassette in a joint release with French Black Metal label Cold Void Emanations. Another thing that's worth mentioning is the album artwork by the fantastic Lucy Johnson, whose work is simple in design but absolutely beautiful in execution and really captures the feel of the record and again adds to the unique vision of the project. Support underground Black Metal and grab yourself a copy of Guthmers Hahl, you will not be disappointed.


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