Men An Tol are a band from New Zealand that plays a very atmospheric form of black metal and this is a review of their self released 2013 album "Dead Trees".
"Ancient Spire" starts with with some primitive and slow black metal riffing before the drums and grim sounding screams kick in and then the guitars utilize palm muting, the drums become blast beats and the rhythm's start going into fast and mid paced areas for awhile before going into a slower atmospheric direction for awhile and then going into some depressive melodic riffs and making a return to the mid paced parts and closing the song.
"Enchanting Death" starts off with slow drum beats and melodic guitar riffs before going into a fast and primitive direction with blast beats and grim screams while also mixing in slow blackened doom elements which also take the song into a more atmospheric direction before reverting back to the fast and primitive elements that close the song.
"Gathering Of Clouds" starts off with nature sounds before the drums and mid paced old school black metal riffs and grim sounding screams make their presence known before shifting off to a slower and heavy direction which sets up the mood for melodies while retaining the mid paced parts until shifting off in a fast primitive direction with blast beats getting mixed in with the beginning riffing while also returning the slower sections to the song and when the song gets fast again you can feel the atmosphere.
"Dead Trees" starts off with drums and slow depressive black metal guitar riffs and then the grim screams come into the song and after 2 minutes a dark sounding melodic black metal guitar solos makes it presence known for awhile until the drum kicks get slightly faster leading up to some blast beats and slightly fast riffs before the song closes.
'Hatred Of The Undying Sun" starts off with primitive black metal guitar riffs, blast beats from the drums and grim screams staying in that direction for awhile before heading off into a more mid paced direction and then going into more slow riffs and drum beats which bring in the atmospheric elements and then the song goes back to it's fast and primitive roots while not forgetting about the mid paced elements which lead to another brief melodic guitar lead.
"Winter's Reign" starts off with some soft acoustic guitar playing before the drums and post metal guitar riffs kick in that go into a more black metal direction when the screams make their presence known with the song staying in slow mode for most of the time and then some more melodic elements make their way into the guitars which leads up to fast and primitive elements along with some blast beats before shifting off into a melodic sounding guitar solo.
"Empty Solo" starts off with drum beats and a slow black metal guitar riff for a minute before the screams come in, blast beats are introduced and the riffing gets more fast and primitive while also utilizing some mid paced melodies and around the 3 minute mark the song slows down and a melodic guitar solo makes its way into the song
"Herne The Hunter" which is a Black Forest cover starts off with fast drumming, grim screams, raw and primitive black metal guitar riffs while switching between fast and slow for a few seconds setting up the pace for mid paced elements and melodic guitar leads.
Song lyrics on the album cover darkness, nature and paganism themes, while the production has a very dark, raw and primitive sound where the bass guitars are mixed down low in the mix and are hard to hear.
In my opinion Men An Tol are a very great sounding atmospheric black metal band and if you are a fan of this musical genre, you should check out this album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Enchanting Death" Hatred Of The Undying Sun" and "Empty Thoughts". RECOMMENDED BUY.