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Nothing short of dark, and breathtaking art! - 100%

brentondig, February 26th, 2009

I give this album 100% because, of the folk/black/doom Metal genres this album encompasses, it stops at nothing to deliver the best of all three. The Folk influence is apparent from the beginning of, "A Celebration For The Death of Man..." to the end of, "A Desolation Song", yet the dark atmosphere delivered by the black and doom metal influence is always a constant throughout each track. This album sends you to a grim and desolate landscape the whole time you listen. I rarely cut this album short when I listen to it. The Mantle reads like a story from start to finish.

The highlight of the album has to be, "In The Shadow of Our Pale Companion". Fourteen minutes and forty-five seconds of bliss and beauty from start to finish. The song is primarily an instrumental, I have trouble describing it's greatness. You really have to hear it and experience it for yourself. An atmospheric masterpiece, for lack of better words.

"Odal" has to be my second favourite track from the album. An instrumental, complete with ambient noise beginning and ending the track, electric guitar as the primary voice, accompanied by acoustic rhythms seething their way through you as you listen. Towards the song's end, a dream-like piano expresses the final mood of the song, sounding very lost, yet it could not have been used better in the song. "The Lodge" would be the song most similar to "Odal" on this release.

Other songs do possess the brutality found in most black metal music, and the influence can truly be felt. The main examples would be, "I am the Wooden Doors" and "You Were But A Ghost In My Arms". If you're looking for a definite black metal influence, these are it. "I am the Wooden Doors" opens with brutal double-kick drum beats akin to something recorded by early Emperor.

Each track on this album blend together like a dream that never ends. If you're looking for an album full of lightning-paced riffs, you're looking in the wrong place, however, if you're a fan of black metal or any other metal, really, The Mantle is definitely worth your time. An emotional ride from beginning to end, really, full of agression, peace, and desolation. Musically, The Mantle is a very diverse album, a must-listen (and purchase) for many!