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Aylwin is another one of those "Cascadian black metal" bands that you either hate or love. Personally, I love the genre and some of the best black metal of the past 10 years has come out of that scene.
Anyways, with Aylwin we have another spawn from that scene. I think they did a really good job on the first and last track, being just acoustic/ambient pieces. In particular, the first track, "Elder Pines", has a very soothing and haunting synth track moving through it along with the hooting of Barred Owls in the background and wind rushing through the Pines. It is actually one of the most pleasing intro tracks I have heard in a long time.
The black metal that Aylwin play is rather simple and straightforward and typical of the sub-genre. I just do not find anything unique in it. It is becoming more and more difficult for bands that play this style to create really impressive works of art. There are lots of mediocre bands from this sub-genre popping up and while they may have the skills to play the music, the music never seems to catch my attention to the extent that some of the more consistent bands in this style present to us.
Just recently I did a review for the new Fauna album, "Avifauna", and it was one of the best "Cascadian black metal" albums I have ever heard, so it's not like the ideas presented in this genre are stale, it is just rare to find a band that can really play this style well. In the case of Aylwin, the song isn't particularly bad, it's just there is nothing special about it and I do not find myself remembering it after listening to it. With that being said though, I believe that the first track is actually a wonderful piece and that really helped me give this album a higher rating.
In the end, this band might have some promise in the future if they find a way to create more engaging music and definitely try to find a way to do something different in an already rather saturated sub-genre.