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Dust Shall Remain - 65%

DEATHPORTAL, August 6th, 2013

Got the summertime blues? The best way to beat the heat is with a quick dose of icy, cold depressive black metal. Thankfully, relief is in sight and can be found courtesy Lord Mist/Frostagrath and Sri-Lankan sorrow-house, Viragha. Together they present a split effort intense enough to blacken out the sun; Dust Shall Remain. This four song EP is as exclusive as the repeated artists themselves, having a mere release of a limited 100 CDRs, available through Rigorism Production.

Having previously reviewed Frostagrath's A Journey Of Infinite Sorrow, I was fairly familiar to the poetic works of Lord Mist. However, Viragha was a project in which I was less in tune having never heard until this release. Nevertheless, both artists' contributions on Dust Shall Remain molds a considerable impression as a whole. Individually, however, each artist shines bright, perhaps boasting the best works thus far in their short careers.

Frostagrath has come a long way in a brief amount of time. His work here in nothing less than of a testament to his passion and devotion to his craft. Since 2011, Lord Mist has worked tirelessly on perfecting his depressive compositions and has lately burst with new music. Along with his appearance on this split EP, he recently released a single, Into A Dimensional Timeless Void, and is currently working on his sophomore full-length, Extinguishing The Flame Of Life. If the work on this EP is just a taste of things to come, depressive black metal fans are in for a treat.

On Dust Shall Remain, Lord Mist proffers two tracks. The first, "Tears Of Desolation", is a sorrowful, atmospheric composition. Commencing upon the cue of a subdued howling wind and the sound of a breaking sky, the song plays with a clean-picked guitar through whisky symphonics. The music maintains a light airiness, however, picks up in intensity upon the introduction a simplistic drum pattern. "Tears Of Desolation" is a wonderful introduction to Dust Shall Remain as it sets the pace and the mood for the work as a whole. Transitioning into the real meat of the album, Frostagrath follows up with the substantial, "And Finally, The Death Caverns Will Carry Out My Soul". This song cannot be described as anything but epic. It is a sixteen plus minute saga that takes the listener on a journey of emotions. It is a very reflective song, enlightening actually. It is as hypnotic as it is intense. The song winds its way through a series of ethereal passages of clean, soaring solos and heavy, distorted blackened melodies. The song starts with somber piano and the sounds of a mare, which progressively turns more bestial as the song continues on. This track is just remarkable in its composition and tone. It may be perhaps Frostagrath's defining swan song to date; however, it will not be his last.

What is also notable is the stature of Frastagrath's progression as a songwriter in just the short amount of time since previous releases. Lord Mist is mastering a signature sound in Frostagrath at an alarming rate both in its creativity and production. His work on Dust Shall Remain is exemplary and is to be commended. Fans of the depressive black metal genre, take note and keep your eyes and ears out for this budding artist.

As the EP move along into the territories of Viragha, the pace remains the same but with renewed aura. Viragha is the conduit of suicide and depression for a man known only as Moth. Like Frostagrath, Viragha was conceived in 2011, and to date has released a demo and EP in 2012 entitled, Imperfect Automaton. Again, the music here is an atmospheric, solemn blend of cold depressive black metal. The songs are once again lengthy and entrancing, but unlike the first half of Dust Shall Remain, they take a turn for a darker and grittier sounding approach. They both boast a chilling vibe worthy of being a soundtrack to your nightmares. The songs wallow and churn through a fog-laden sound accented by distant, torturous screams and howls. The dissonance is thick, which all the more contributes to the music's depressive nature. Viragha's music is true about the nature of the genre and aptly fits on Dust Shall Remain. The first track, "Adaraneey Adhonawa Pt. II" is a follow-up to a track of the same name on Viragha's 2011 demo, and "The Gospel Of Despair" can be found originally on the Imperfect Automaton EP.

I cannot think of a better duo than Frostagrath and Viragha to present such a full and well-balanced feature. The two share an equal credit in making Dust Shall Remain one of the best of the genre and perhaps the best underground depressive black metal releases of the year. For fans of this form of reclusive black metal, I highly suggest you become one of the lucky few to get your hands on this album. It contains all the aspects that make the depressive brand of black metal what it is, as seen through the minds of two distinguished artists.
***Written for and by www.deathportal.net