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Crom Dubh: Heimweh

A long-awaited return by an underground UKBM gem

Scarily, it’s over a decade since Crom Dubh made their recorded debut, the band issuing a pair of demos in 2004 and 2005 before largely disappearing from view, their silence broken only by 2010’s Deifr EP. Sporadic live shows and this, their debut album, suggests the band are once again a going concern – which, frankly, is good news.

Fiercely monochromatic, Crom Dubh lean toward the very earnest expression that has become a hallmark of English black metal over the last decade, the band’s earthy and occasionally folky sound offering an unpolished alternative to the likes of Winterfylleth or Forefather, with occasional nods toward the emotive landscapes of Fen, or even a less theatrical Primordial.

The strangely upbeat songwriting evident since their second demo remains firmly in place and Heimweh, despite the uncompromising performance and production (no clean singing or melodic synths here) offers a more introspective and calming listen than its abrasive individual parts might initially suggest.

Nevertheless, there is also an undeniably rousing and heroic underbelly, albeit one that surfaces in a slow-burning and understated manner./o:p