Blood Red Fog is a Finnish black metal-band that's been active since 2004, and this is their second full-length album.

The album's sound surprised me. Whereas their previous release that I've heard, the split with Verge from 2010 had a raw, somewhat damp and even heavy sound, this one's a lot cleaner and more professional. The guitar distortion is still raw and not too polished,certainly, but especially the clear and loud drums bring out the fact that the instruments now have way more room to breathe in - which also makes the 10-minute songs easier to digest. Splendid.

The songs themselves are raw and simplistic, but always beautifully melodic. They carry a melancholic feel - and I don't mean the weepy kind, but something closer to a quiet remembrance and paying respects. They progress slowly and cafefully, employing repetition, but stray from causing boredom.

Whereas the two first songs are mainly faster than mid-tempo, the third song takes a dive into slower and doomier spheres. The anguished raw vocals don't scream for attention on the first two tracks, but on the third one their echoing sound is fitting and powerful. "The Prison" rises from the depressive depths around the song's halfway through lighter and slightly faster melodies and Shu-Ananda's strong and personal clean vocals, keeping the song from becoming too heavy or suffocating.

The last song is my personal favourite from "Harvest" as although it might be the most simple and "boring" song composition-wise, it has a great and affecting atmosphere and employs some really stylish and spacey guitar-drone effects. I'm really fond of Shu-Ananda's clean vocals which are the only vocals on this track, which also weighs on me favouring it.

It's as if the visual artist was thinking of my preferences when s/he's made the covers. The design is simple and minimalistic with a few medieval black and white drawings of skeletons and such, and the lyrics are very easy to read. Ten points. The lyrics contemplate the meaning of life, death and rebirth, which suits the band's somewhat introverted music perfectly. They're distant, but also very concrete.

For the first time I feel like I understand what BRF are doing, and that I can relate to it. The album is of suitable length when thinking of its musical style and atmospheres, and it is plain well-made all around. It's initially not an easy album to get acquainted with, but after a couple of spins its strengths should reward the patient listeners.

8+ / 10