Black Metal. Now, as the summer heat continues to blaze after the revelry of midsummer, Valravn return with a second full-length, The Awakening. Tellingly titled, The Awakening displays yet more sides to this still-unfolding entity. To be sure, Valravn's poise and power are firmly accounted for here - you can still FEEL every note, so vital, virile, and vivid - and they've even added a bit of death metalled muscle, too, but the songwriting itself is where their second album truly takes flight. Sharp and yet never sterile, thanks to a production that's on the right side of polished, there's an acute balance of contrasts across The Awakening's 44-minute runtime; each of the album's eight songs features some twist of melancholy and militancy, of bursting color and bristling monochromatism, of stoic resignation and steadfast determination, of man-on-the-mountain spaciousness and stuck-in-the-catacombs claustrophobia. Concluding with the literally breathtaking "Charge of the Last Cavalry," The Awakening consolidates all the strengths of its predecessor and indeed leads Valravn into a new charge for glory. The fires of Finnish black metal have yet to be vanquished!