Like Inquisition, Deathspell Omega, and Blut Aus Nord this extremely 'kvlt' worthy Black Metal act is something of an enigma. There are perhaps not enough words to fully describe it but evidently the band takes a poetically heartfelt stab at weaving a dynamic tale of one's own existential crisis and his fascination/obsession with death. Indeed this entire seven song affair plays like Black Metal's answer to any number of ancient Greek or even Shakespearean tragedies where larger than life protagonists ponder the state of their destinies and every fateful decision they make at hand but despite their willingess to overcome adversity they become the martyrs from which we the audience learn from by their obvious mistakes and inevitable downfall. As a first time listener you're bound to be instantly drawn in by its cathartic moments of romanticism, eerie suspense, depressive melodicism, and otherworldy ambiance. Further, after having to recently endure an overabundance of adolescent minded satanism and unintentionally humorous attempts at shock tactics that has recently plagued this beloved genre as of late I can now say without any shadow of doubt that my faith in the future of BM has been triumphantly restored. Overall the band's doom n' gloom concept ultimately brings to mind such reference points as Shining, Xasthur, Burzum, Forgotten Tomb, and Silencer. Yet despite the sheer weight of depressive angst that may be a bit much to absorb all at once somehow this band manages to portray it all so elegantly, as if to suggest that death has a dignity all of its own.
What sets this quartet apart from the rest of the cookie cutter pack is its eloquent poetry and stylized nuances that at times recalls Opeth's compositional style but minus all of the ostentatious prog rock dry humping. Often oscillating between moments of frantic, wild eyed hysterics (the faster tempos) and painful, somber reflection (the midpaced to slower, doomier segments), it's as if you're being exposed to the inner voices of a condemned man's mind as he struggles to cope with the reality of his passing from the physical realm into the spirit realm. In fact, it is during the first song, "The Drawing Back of the Veil" that you get the sense that whoever the protagonist in this aural tale is, he has found himself staring with complete shock at his own lifeless corpse lying in the very coffin that he is about to be buried in. From there, the second track, "Source of Hollow Essence" with its multitude of whispering vocals, a trance inducing acoustic melody and soporific bass line that serves to be the calming point, as if to illustrate the protagonist's willingness to accept his transcendence into purgatory but tries to summon enough power to communicate with and console his grieving lover left behind. Of course, not to go on a lengthy tangent of song by song analysis here or anything but if I could best summarize the rest of the musical journey here in one sentence it would be a cryptic, chronological diary documenting all of the lost souls whose lives ended prematurely only to now have their stories told the way they see it. Ahh.. perhaps I've read too much Clive Barker during my impressionable teenage years but the entire listening experience is truly haunting enough to make almost anyone come to terms with their own mortality while driving past a local cemetary perhaps.
One particular interest worth noting here is the vocals which are both masterfully handled by the likes of Vanth and Drizzt. Running the gamut between piercing, harpy-like shrieks, guttural growls, agonizing moaning, beckoning whispers, and ringing cries of anguish, after awhile you almost become convinced that the duo are vessels for which the dead speak through and therefore it's not that difficult to imagine the two of them standing rigidly upright, eyes as vacant as the creepy looking twin sisters from the film, The Shining while various otherworldly voices emanate from their mouths like cold mists of wintery air. And with the multiple voices bouncing off one another during certain intervals while intertwining like one during others it sounds like something you'd perhaps hear while wandering alone inside of a decaying and haunted abandoned mental institution.
I admittedly wasn't expecting much upon first receiving this disc in the mail some months ago seeing as to how I've not heard anything in regards to this obscure band from heavens-know-where. Indeed a most pleasant surprise that needs to be shared with a broader audience. Of course, there's still some definite room far more growth and progression seeing as to how these four gents possess a vivid imagination and greater scope of instrumental abilities beyond the typical tremolo abuse. Yet seeing as to how this is only their second official full length (in the minor leagues no less) then all I can say is that they've certainly gotten off to a great start! Definitely looking forward to more.. keep up the good work, fellas.