Falkenbach Heralding: The Fireblade

More than a decade after Falkenbach’s intended debut album got derailed, it’s finally seeing the light of day — re-recorded, and released as Heralding: The Fireblade. The brainchild of one man, Vratyas Vakyas, Falkenbach’s latest (and earliest) is part black metal and part Viking — a blend of folk ballad style and metal roars, its ranks filled out (as on 2003’s Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty) by members of Vindsval (which is not, in fact, a Viking metal band). Heralding: The Fireblade drips epic atmosphere, balancing the heavy and the ethereal in near-perfect measure. Driving riffs propel the album onward, its softer melodies flowing like the waves that introduce its opening strains, weaving together a tapestry that is triumphant in spirit and execution. (Napalm)