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Black Lotus- Harvest of Seasons - 95%

Einherjar86, December 4th, 2008

I knew I would like this record from the instant I saw the cover art. The dark, dreary nature imagery perfectly reflects the tone of this record. This is dark, mystical, beautiful music. Good cover art is always a plus.

Black Lotus reminds me a lot of Borknagar. The folk elements make me think of The Olden Domain, and the clean vocals remind me of Quintessence. In general, there is a definite Borknagar influence in the sound.

That said, Harvest of Seasons is a black/folk masterpiece. After the soothing introductory number "Prelude" the album takes of soaring. Excellent clean vocals contrast well with the harsh, and very melodic instrumental passages and lengthy numbers create an epic atmosphere. Some people might find it odd when I say that no one song stands out from the rest particularly. However, in this case I don't think that's a bad thing. This album is very consistent, and is fantastic to listen to all in one sitting. The songs blend together to create a coherent whole; a very strong, powerful movement of black folk metal.

There is a pagan element at work throughout the entire record. Black Lotus is very influenced by nature, and their music and lyrics attempt to make a connection with ancient nature beliefs. Songs such as "Of Pathless Woods" and "Awaken the Season of Old" hearken back to arcane and ancient ideals, and imagery like "the ocean of the netherworld" conjure visions of mystical and enigmatic worlds.

I've always been a fan of bands that utilize a mix of clean and harsh vocals, and here the result is no different. There is a duality in the vocals that creates a sense of separate personalities. There is savagery and serenity in this record, and the emotional range soars the spectrum.

If there is any reason to take a few points away from the album, it might stem from the record's occasional tendency to drag on a bit. But as I've said before, I don't think this detracts too much from the music. The album requires patience, but it pays off in the end. This is a fantastic black/folk album.