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There was a great Era of Norwegian Atmospheric and Symphonic Black Metal from 1994 to 1997. At least, in my opinion, those were the blooming years. Classic releases from bands like Emperor, Covenant, Arcturus and Gehenna, and many others, were released upon the hungry black metal crowds.
Among the smaller jewels of this style was Mundanus Imperium. A couple of years before they released their quite interesting full length album which sounded like a mixture between their original style, progressive metal and classic hard rock, there was this EP. A 16 minute trip into Nordic melancholy and longing.
All the elements that a fan of this style would want to hear are present. First of all, a thick blanket of keyboards that seem to serve as the main source of composition. Adequate and moderately paced drums. Tremolo picked guitars performing minor chords and harmonies, with a single lead melody here and there. And greatly mixed biting vocals that add a lot of subzero to the whole. But where is the bass? Well...it's black metal you know.
M.I. on this EP could be compared to Covenant's "In Times Before the Light", although the main focus here is an atmosphere of longing to be in other places, whereas Covenant adds a certain depth of foreboding darkness to their music. This EP shows that neo-classical themes and (black) metal are a powerful combination, and such themes are foremostly present in the third and closing song, performed by heavy strings and piano. Occasionally, a single melody line stands out above the blanket of keys, very effectively performed in the shape of some woodwind instrument. It is this that makes the second song the highlight of all three.
Music literally speaks to me with its moods and tempers, and this EP is no exception. It's one of those wonderful musical pieces that create visions without seeing them clearly, in this case like cosmic light sources peeking through the slowly swirling Northern Lights over the cascading mountain ranges of my mind. A certain loneliness and desire that lives within us all. It makes me sigh loudly every time the last tones of this EP fade away. Partly because it's just way too damned short.