January 9th, 2011
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
This is one that I sadly missed last year. I had heard Alda's previous 2009 self-titled album and while it was a decent effort I felt that there was certainly some room for improvement. With Tahoma I can say that they have clearly grown and stepped up their game tremendously.
Falling into the "cascadian" atmospheric black metal scene with a slightly folky twist one might compare to the Canadian Skagos, however Alda manage to set themselves apart by crafting Tahoma: a soulful and majestic record from beginning to end. Offering 5 tracks which have moments of tranquil acoustic guitar, soft and clean singing (as well as other stringed instruments and an accordion at one point I believe) between the howling vocals, tribal drumming, and frigid yet beautiful tremolo waves that wash over you all throughout this journey.
Overall Tahoma is paced and arranged superbly, the calm or clean moments strike you just as hard as the harsher elements do creating a wonderful balance. It opens with a beautiful acoustic passage and closes with a dark and chilling ambiance, and spread throughout is the occasional sample of the ocean or of native chants and crackling fire which do much to thicken the already very dense cascadian atmosphere.
A killer record that will place you directly into the vast wilderness. Many have probably overlooked this one but it is an excellent release worthy of attention and highly recommended. Tahoma will be especially interesting for those of you who are into Ash Borer, Skagos, early Panopitcon, and Wolves in the Throne Room.
You can listen to and download this record on bandcamp, or pick up the cassette over at Eternal Warfare once they have restocked it, or you may still be able to get one over at Singularity Publishing. It's being pressed on vinyl soon as well by Replenish Records.