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Three intense composition … a montane trip - 82%

oneyoudontknow, September 14th, 2012

Release number two of this band and compared with the debut output, a step in a different but not surprising direction was being taken. The music has taken a leap towards something more consistent and with more of a flow. Actually, would it not be for some small breaks at the beginning and the end of each track respectively; then the whole album could work as one long piece. Especially the Light on Wings and Like Arctic Moons work together nicely, not only through the way they lead up to each other, but also in terms of the atmospheres and facets.

Tsisnaasjini opens rather calm and gentle, with an ambient/drone track, one of whose main facets is a dense guitar structure, which, even though not in the background, creates nothing more than the basic setting for the art. Despite a rather minimalist opening, Light on Wings evolves in complexity and leaves those wind-like textures behind, moves on to something more metal oriented, but it never reaches this level, as laid out above. Aside from this it is interesting to hear the unfolding of the melody. From some vaguely discernable or identifiable wind sounds, over a slightly oscillating (white?) noise texture to something with vocals the line was drawn and the listener is gently taken by the hand, lead through this desolate, eerie and barren musical sphere. Well, there appears a voice now and then in the composition, but its sound is nothing except an indiscernible noise, something that creates a distortion of the atmosphere, yet the message remains unknown.

Like Arctic Moons, the second track, takes on with the music gapless … nearly gapless … because there is a gap … a small one… then two drumbeats and off it goes. Here, the music resembles much more of a metal composition; not only because of the larger emphasis on the guitars as well as the riffs, but also through the way the music actually progresses. In style memories on depressive/ambient black metal are woken and even though the style is a bit too minimalist at times, along with a too large focus on repetitiveness, the composition itself remains quite interesting and atmospheric. In contrast to the opener of Tsisnaasjini the second track progresses in the inverse direction and become more minimalist and noisy towards the end. So, the listener is basically been taken back from where this person started.

Number three and this would also be the last composition on this album, stands a bit aside from the previous two. Not so much in the concept, but rather in the atmosphere with which the music is approached here. Nearly right from the start the metal parts take over and they take the listener even into some blast beat dominated regions. Nevertheless, the quieter and bleaker ambient facets appear also here on a larger scale. The mixture between these two elements appears with a considerable amount of contrast in Vague as Blown Smoke. Whether it is also the best, is something that would be hard to decide, because in style the music has shifted a bit. Aside from this, the general tendency to take back speed, metalness and aggressiveness are also persistent in this track and similar to the two preceding compositions, also this one closes rather calm and laid back.

The basic elements of this release are an ambient structure with drone and noise facets, whose part is accompanied by metal segments. It is a complex as well as impressive piece of art, whose atmospheres leave little to be desired. Compared with the first output everything sounds more coherent now, work together in a better and more profound way. This American band seems to have an idea on not only on how to approach the ambient genre, but also on how to put metal along with other facets together. A first glimpse can be listened to on this very album. Hopefully, something even better will be released in the future.

Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 11)’: