Many black metal albums claim to be inspired by mysticism and magic, but few capture the feeling of those two things. Tales of Othertime, the new album from USBM quintet Stormkeep, not only captures that feeling but provides it in spades, recalling the glory of classic melodic black metal.
Stormkeep counts among their ranks members of Blood Incantation, Wayfarer, Lykotonon and Cobalt, so the high-tier musicianship comes as little surprise but Tales of Othertime rules so hard because it’s fun. The band’s galloping, melodic riffs and soaring leads combine gracefully with Grandmaster Otheyn Vermithrax Poisontongue’s lyrics about wizards and fantasy, further amplified by symphonic keys and moments of spoken word.
There are two dungeon synth interludes on Tales of Othertime, but beyond that, Stormkeep move through the album at a brisk pace. It isn’t a record that reinvents the black metal wheel, but for anyone who yearns for the glory days of Emperor, Sacramentum, Dimmu Borgir and their ilk, Tales of Othertime is one of the year’s essential black metal albums.