It’s no secret that we here at Astral Noize are big fans of FromSoftware’s cosmic horror masterpiece Bloodborne, and for all that game’s gargantuan bosses and eldritch horrors, no enemy is more terrifying than the Winter Lanterns. A hobbling humanoid body wearing a tattered, bloodstained dress (which fyi closely resembles that of The Doll), in place of a head they have a tentacled mass of bulbous flesh covered in eyes – even looking at one is enough to drive your character into a Frenzy, potentially doing a lot of damage or even killing you outright. There’s a reason they’re so feared by fans of the game. As band names go, it’s the perfect choice for black metal that’s as wicked and threatening as that made by one-woman outfit Winter Lantern.
The project’s earlier music, seen on demos like Torturous Howls Beneath Blood Banners and A Pale And Haunting Moon, goes straight for the jugular (spooky intros notwithstanding), boasting material that is as raw and direct as black metal comes. These releases introduce a slight twist on the vampiric black metal playbook, jumping straight to the part where the shadow descends and the fangs are already in your neck. If those demos see us thrust into a vampiric world without warning, then the title of latest release Festering Vampirism is fitting in the way that the release sees us now deeply immersed within its morbid gloom. Its eight tracks take on a less antagonistic yet darker and more ominous atmosphere, with an intro of gloomy synths that gives way to steady, sludgy percussion and anguished growls that dance across tremolos like a howling wind through a barren castle.
No matter how good the music is, though, there’s always that hint of doubt when discovering a new black metal project, seeing as how the genre has a proclivity for inviting those on the far-right into its midst. Thankfully, Winter Lantern’s Bandcamp makes nazi black metal fans know they’re not welcome right off the bat, with a to-the-point “fuck nsbm!” in the project’s bio and a note that any cassette orders from people with nazi references in their email (such as the “88” code often used in a dumb attempt to be somewhat cryptic) will be cancelled.
Check Winter Lantern out on Bandcamp here.
Words: George Parr