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Soul shattering EP - 93%

Chadwicked, March 4th, 2009

Fans of black metal can be quite judgmental; they are already predisposed to their likes and dislikes, but most fans are willing to listen to the occasional unknown black metal band from time to time, even if for only a minute. And if there’s one band I would recommend, it’s Blood Red Fog; but I would highly suggest starting with their EP Radiating Desolation before their self-titled debut album. Yet, if by chance a fan of black metal has stumbled across Blood Red Fog’s full-length, and despite their feelings of the album, I would still thoroughly stress the importance of listening to Blood Red Fog’s EP release. It’s a remarkable step for the band and the subgenre of depressive black metal in so many ways.

The production quality is still low-grade, as is to be expected with most depressive black metal bands, but it’s still an earnest effort and quite clean considering most albums in this subgenre. Unlike Blood Red Fog’s debut, this EP allows for parts to stand out far more defined . . . why, one can actually hear the bass and understand the vocalizations, though both are not without that dirty/gritty black metal feel. Yet, the musical details are clear.

If you listen hard enough, you might hear a word now and then, as incomprehensible as it may be, but most fans of black metal aren’t so concerned with lyrical content as much as the stylization of shriek-freaks. The lead singer of Blood Red Fog definitely has his own style, though it’s still in the same vain as most shrieking/growling depressive black metal bands, but his delivery definitely stands out. The vocals so accurately portray that existential dilemma most fans of metal, specifically black metal, and especially depressive black metal, are subject to. You can just feel that swallowing isolation dwelling within the reaches of hopelessness as your ears are enslaved to the shrieks of Blood Red Fog’s singer. Like their debut album, there’s a reverb/echo effect added to the vocals to help capture that complete and utter separation from the joys of life as its leaves you suspended in the remnants of your past pain and the pain you have yet to live. However, following in their own footsteps, Blood Red Fog is able to contradict the torment of the vocalization style with their musical abilities.

This EP is a definite improvement musically compared to their self-titled debut. Let me just state outright in a rather mocking manner that the band has been practicing; for, unlike their debut, this EP is relatively clean of any major musical errors. There’s the occasional staggering of tempos, but nothing anyone other than musicians are likely to spot. Overall the band is able to maintain their course and stick together as the songs switch gears and styles. An example of Blood Red Fog’s mastery of mixing styles can be found on the first track, King, which opens with a guitar solo—a rather twisted, soul shattering guitar solo over a simple, haunting guitar riff and drum beat—before immediately jumping into a blast-beat which then transcends into a rather groovy/jammy riff which has become Blood Red Fog’s trademark style. This track is a perfect example of what Blood Red Fog is capable of musically and gives a hint of their future. But it’s the last track, Departure, which is sure to impress and catch the ears of anyone willing to give Blood Red Fog a listen. As a fan of Blood Red Fog ever since their debut I have come to expect one thing and one thing only when listening to Blood Red Fog: a head-banging/toe-tapping good time . . . but grievously so, after all this is depressive black metal. So imagine my surprise when I actually found myself listening to the song Departure and was transfixed, motionless, to the melodies involved. I hate to use other bands as comparisons, but it’s so difficult to describe any black metal band these days without linking them someway or another to some other black metal band, as such I can honestly say that the only other depressive black metal band (project) which has been able to lock me into such a musical trance that I actually forget my surroundings is Thy Light. I cannot quite describe my feelings when I listen to the song Departure by Blood Red Fog, but I’m willing to bet that any fan of music can relate to that mystical sense of awe when a song tickles their ears so much that it actually vibrates their very soul. As such, if someone were to ask me which songs howl within my very soul, or lack thereof, I would definitely declare Departure as being one of those.

Without a doubt, I am very excited about Blood Red Fog’s future, and I long for more by this band. If you are a fan of depressive black metal or at least a fan of black metal and are willing to give said subgenre a listen, even if only for a minute, then I hope that you are fortunate enough to stumble across the EP Radiating Desolation by the enigmatic Blood Red Fog. It’s soul shattering.