If you enjoy raw black metal with a very underground sound then Arch of Thorns will be right up your alley. The Coming Storm is Arch of Thorn's debut release and this slightly over 18 minute EP bring us 4 songs of primitive and grim black metal.
Take the sound of Old Path (minus the keyboards) and add a touch of early Slechtvalk (minus the keyboards) and you're coming close to where Arch of Thorns is currently at. (Although this band is nowhere near the caliber of Slechtvalk). The sound here is very aggressive, with blistering guitars and blasting (courtesy of your friendly neighborhood programmed drums). The programmed drums don't sound too bad though, so it's not a big distraction. The bid distraction would be the very poor production. Black metal is sometimes known to have subpar production, but this is a little too subpar.
The vocals on this disc are very well done and are probably my favorite part about this band. Very grim and sick sounding black metal shrieking with an atmospheric feel to them. The band also adds some very cool female vocals on 3 of the 4 songs. They kind of seem to tie all the songs together in a way. I'm not sure if they are sampled or live vocals, but they help the sound here. They also use some samples of thunder and a wolf howling on the title track. However, due to the poor production, they sound kinda fake (which they may actually be anyways).
Lyrically, I'm not sure what the band is singing about since there are no lyrics in their booklet or on their website that I could find. Packaging is pretty basic with the album cover you see above on cardboard stock with band photos of the two members on the back.
Overall, Arch of Thorns displays that they do have some talent. However, they do have a long ways to go to come close to standing with the main bands in the genre. Alot of times, bands like this seem to come and go without ever releasing anything else. Apparently, Arch of Thorns is currently working on a follow up to this release. The band would do good to save their money for a much better produced release and then find them a real drummer as well. While this is FAR from album of the year, I'm curious as to how they will progress in the future. Check them out at http://www.archofthorns.com or at their label website http://www.sneeuwstorm.tk/ (Review by Matt)