Full blender

The genre description that came with these electronic files included "Viking", "black metal" and "folk". What reviews that exist tend to refer to Hoofmark as a "black metal country" artist. This does not mean something that sounds like Emperor playing Garth Brooks songs. It's more like Pavement playing Mercyful Fate songs.

Stoic Winds

Which is cool as well. Nuno Ramos is essentially the sum total of Hoofmark (at least in the studio). He hails from Lisbon, and he has a definite minimalist approach to his sound. So there's plenty of elegiac lead guitar and plenty of double bass drum throbbing. The best example of this is the two-shot of "Dust Trails" and "Dust Trails Blazing", which combined is more than ten minutes of acoustic noodling, soaring lead guitar, actual singing, blistering riffage and, finally, blackout metal. It's a complete mishmash that doesn't even try to reconcile the disparate elements. To call the songs a mess is being charitable.

And yet, it's totally awesome. I think this is probably most palatable for fans of bands like Refused or Earth Crisis. Extreme and experimental hardcore fans have the ears for this sort of genre mixing (though certainly not blending) and the overall sonic assault on the senses. Listen long enough, and I guarantee you'll bleed from all orifices.

Finally, "Yours Should Be a Heavy Casket" is the song title of the year (2017, though it might top 2018 as well). There's only one way that song could sound, and Ramos doesn't disappoint. It's merely an intro to the madness that is this album, but it's one hell of a "hello!" This album might well be the Trout Mask Replica of black metal. Stoic Winds is not the future of anything, but it will remain strangely compelling and enthralling pretty much forever.

Jon Worley

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