Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Windfaerer’s Breaths of Elder Dawns and La Sonriente Garnacha 2019.
The Tunes: Windfaerer’s Breaths of Elder Dawns
When you think of ‘folk metal,’ especially the intersection of folk metal and black metal, there is really only one picture that comes to mind, and as fun as it might be to listen to a bunch of dudes in viking costume runic chanting over blast beats (sorry Enslaved, ily), it’s always bothered me that there is a whole wide world of ‘folk’ music out there that never seems to get as much attention as Scandinavian-influenced music does. So it was that when I saw Windfaerer’s name and read about their use of myths, history, and melody from the Iberian peninsula, I knew this could be the breath of fresh air I was looking for, and Breaths of Elder Dawns delivered on any front I could have asked for. The band’s music is a high-energy mix of almost-melodeath meets atmospheric black metal that also knows how and when to hold itself back in quieter moments for maximum impact. The ace up Windfaerer’s sleeve, though, is the absolutely stunning string work of Benjamin Karas, whose violin, viola, and cello performance is the thing that takes Breaths from good to great. Violin and black metal are a match made in heaven, in one writer’s humble opinion, but here the orchestral strings aren’t just used to enhance the emotion or the atmosphere, though they do a terrific job at that, but actually shred just as hard as the other instruments alongside them. It’s been a long time since I heard a violin solo that straight up rocks as hard as any electric guitar solo in the same song, but tracks like ‘Depletion’ show the masterful way these instruments have been arranged in the songs. If you too are looking for something that stands out from the folk metal crowd, I couldn’t recommend Breaths any higher.
The Booze: La Sonriente Garnacha 2019
If there’s another thing the Iberian peninsula has given us besides good rocking tunes, it’s some of my favorite wine the world over. Garnachas have been a particular favorite of mine since my college days, but they for whatever reason don’t seem to be as readily available as other wines of the same region unless I seek them out specifically at a liquor store. Since The Unpleasantness is still very much an issue and I’m trying to make as few trips as possible, I’ve been leaning pretty heavily lately on La Sonriente’s Garnacha as it’s what is readily available from my grocery store, and even beyond that it’s a terrific wine for it’s price. It’s earthy and spicy and complex with a good hit of ripe fruit and just enough tartness to satisfy me. I already know this is going to end up back in my wine cabinet again soon, and I hope it will end up in yours too.
Cheers, and be good to each other,