At under half an hour in length and peppered with instrumental passages, The Grove doesn’t give you a lot in the way of real ‘songs’ to get your teeth into; However there is enough going on here to suggest that Canadian flautist Ember Belladonna might be worth keeping an eye on moving forward.

The main tracks, Heart of the Grove and Spirit Woman show an ear for variety and an artist not afraid to follow were the songs lead; Laura Inferno‘s blackened guest croaks, when added to Belladonna’s flute and some simple but crunchy guitar from Justin Bender take the project into waters you wouldn’t expect after listening to the whimsy of The Wild Hunt or Ruination, and make for a genuinely enjoyable listen.

But of course it’s Belladonna’s flutework that remains at the centre of everything, even as Bender cranks up the riffage. They juxtapose nicely together, and although the flute isn’t the most obvious heavy metal instrument Belladonna and Bender manage to fuse in such a style as to make it seem the most natural partnership in the world. Belladonna’s use of the glissando flute in particular aids the process.

It’s easy to mock music like this, with it’s obsession for the past and Druidic legend, but there really is something extra about Ember Belladonna that might appeal not just to fans of Eluveitie and the like but also to anyone with an ear for the beguiling and the unusual. Take a listen and see what you think.

The Grove releases on February 9th.