Mountains Crave, who are based in Leeds in the North of England but claim kinship with bands from all over the country, are a welcome addition to the British black metal scene.

Formed in 2013 but as yet having only released one EP, the band shows maturity beyond those four years on this debut full-length release. The songs featured on As We Were When We Were Not may vary in length, but all six featured have an incredibly epic feel to them that enables the listener to lose him or herself in each composition. Bassist Ol Jessop and guitarist Mike Midgely are both also in A Forest of Stars, and that would be a useful starting place when trying to describe the sound that Mountain’s Crave create.

But that is only half the story; This band carries none of the Edwardian whimsy of bands like A Forest of Stars or Imperial Vengeance, but they do match those bands for black metal intensity. Vocalist Danny Heaton is able to employ full-blooded death metal roars which add variety to his usual vocal style which references Dani Filth on tracks like Clear Light of the Void, but as often happens in black metal he also turns his voice into an instrument itself in many places, sacrificing enunciation for feeling and otherworldly emotion on opening tracks Ynisvitrin and Istigkeit.

Overall I would say that Mountains Crave represent a very British style of black metal, a style that largely rejects the temptation to play heavily for heaviness’ sake but which always retains a weight of emotional punch that many bands playing in this area would find impossible to match. When they do employ blasts they make it count, but their true appeal lies in the way that their apparent musical savagery is able to unlock feelings within the listener of true depth and primal intensity; This is not catharsis as a theatrical device, but truly moving and vital music.

As We Were When We Were Not is out now on Avantgarde Music