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A lo-fi monument. Artists look to a variety of sources for inspiration in forming more calculated expressions, and often times the expression is a direct exstention of dominant qualities of the designers person as per predilection. From premeditation comes an interceding frame of two dimensions: pre-existing, and of the artist. Ours comes third, a reactionary perception of the intercession. And from this middle ground, what one finds here is an amazing piece of Swedish Black Metal. The texture is much different than what was at the time your standard BM aesthetics, and seems like a style developed from more traditional Doom, and Heavy Metal stylings, but with an obvious want to push the dynamics as extreme as possible. Of the original material, dates stretch between 1988-1994, and on here there are five separate line ups. The productions vary, but stay in the rather "demo tape" region, though do not mistake that for a statement of lack of substance. One should recognize the originality of this project, and its potential of influence.
Here in, themes of depression, longing, fantastical kingdoms, physical and existential forces of mysticism, journey, all find room in the imagery. A very doom tinged experience overall, a mood like Keat's "This living hand...". From the intro's speach of a Byronic hero's lamentation, digressing on a Manfred like aggrandizement of sorrow as the character is reaching moribunds end, to the outros sililoquy on the resignation to fate, by means of suicide (Goethe anyone?). There are just many strong themes present through out, usually revolving around death, fate, and an absurd hero (as in A. Caums' view of Sisyphus). Take Agony's Silent Paradise, a declaration in the chorus, "Find the dark in my eyes, I am not, and I am all, I'm the end of the beginning", reflects on a rather primordial idea of the reconstitution of matter infinitely, the song also presents the idea of increasing wisdom increases sorrow (but its all Greek to me). Interesting thoughts, in the least much deeper than Satanism derived from angst, and petty apprehension.
The music here, from the analogue masters, is vastly benefited from the dillution of static. Of course it would have been "nice", and more accessible, to have a cleaner mix, or more contrived tone, but this raw presentation though, to my pallette, carries more weight than not. It has a presence, and atmosphere autonomous from what melodies are captured. Suppose its just more visceral in this format. Anyhow, the melodic body of these tracks has a mature structure, allowing for great stylizations of imagery and sound thanks to a talented understanding of composition. The guitar work utilizes a lot of arpeggiated melodies, presenting a mix of death and traditional fingerings, with almost no tremolo picking through out. Synth's are used, but primarily for atmospheric effect which is achieved well. The variety of voices is impressive. Death and black styled vocals, to whispers, talking, female King Diamond sounding oddness, and dark distortions. Intelligent incorporation for the most part, thanks to thought out patterns.
In my opinion this album is fucking classic. I've heard it a thousand times in the last decade, and I'm still enjoying it so thats gotta speak for something.
Castle of No Repair / From a Blackend Heart, Nightfall of Mother Earth / Summer Distress, A Lonely Ceremony / The Eternal Walk pt.1