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As the tidal waves retreat in the opening to "Proxigean Arcanum" they are replaced by another just as relentless repeated onslaught in the processional black metal hammering of Lake of Blood's debut album that we have here, "As Time and Tide Erodes Stone". This two-song, 32-minute release from the Californian upstarts would not sound very American (or Californian) if it were not the overriding influence of Wolves in the Throne Room on LoB's sound, who have unwittingly moved to the forefront of a sound every bit as intense as traditional black metal but forged in the fire of natural mysticism and isolation, a great many left-wing miles from the humanistic right-wing for which it's usually renowned.
Over a number of listens I have grown to like to manner in which Lake of Blood have picked up WITTR's mantle of incessant, yet melodically inclined, coarse riffing woven into Altar of Plague's harsher outlook all packaged up in the mega song lengths both those two acts swear by. With so many riffs contained in "Proxigean Arcanum" and its 15-minute successor "Destroyer of Vices", there is not only plenty to crow about but as much pleasure to be gained in the manner in which they gently ebb and flow between contrasting moods, recalling middle-era Enslaved as they twist through a passage of fast, blazing riffing and snare pounding and then from nowhere, appears gushing requiem and recompense in their softer tones. It may lack the 'evilness' of your Norwegian BM-types but the wall of sound that hits you when the accelerator is pushed is a convincing statement of intent from this inexperienced band.
Atmosphere, the invisible slave to which all black metal bands are bound at the wrist and often judged regardless of more numerate factors, is very much at play here but don't come expecting the grainy mystery that accompanies WITTR. Lake of Blood's sound is more basic and devoid of their aura of eerie, dark woodland nature but as far as backing up their style of sonic noise it ain't half bad. Much like the piece as a whole, which is too short at 32 minutes, this worthy album demonstrates a promising band in progress taking all the right cues from undoubtedly the best movement within black metal in years.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net