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Call of the Blackened Woods - 70%

Spatupon, June 13th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2007, Independent

Depressive black metal has been a controversial sub-genre since its proper inception during the mid-2000s and became even more controversial with the rise of the so-called "bedroom one-man bands". The United States of America seems to have been on the forefront of this wave, with bands such as Lost Inside, I'm in a Coffin and Happy Days leading this new wave of depressive black metal into the more mainstream black metal scene. Just like every genre and sub-genre in existence, the sub-genre in question has spawned both terrible and amazing releases which will forever be remembered by those who are dedicated to black metal. Love it or hate it, depressive black metal seems to be gaining more momentum every passing year. Germany is not unfamiliar with this sub-genre and boasts a wealth of interesting depressive black metal bands. Some of them will forever be remembered as giants within this niche sub-genre. Among those greats stand Anti and Sterbend which in my opinion have both released classic albums. Some others are merely a shell of their counterparts. Where does Blutklinge fit into this equation? Well, this question cannot be answered in a straightforward manner.

Blutklinge existed in some form or another for more than a decade releasing only a few demos, EPs and one full-length. However, the topic of this review is their EP aptly entitled "Call of The Blackened Woods". This EP boasts three tracks which all clock above the 10-minute mark. What is there to say about this mini-album? Well, first and foremost, this is your average Burzum-worshipping release, taking many notes from "Filosofem" and adhering to it religiously. However, the depressive atmosphere of "Filosofem" is appropriated and increased tenfold in this EP. Depression and apathy are the two main emotions which encompass this album. Those two emotions are expressed in a multitude of ways throughout each song. Each song changes its pace and the sole artist behind this project ingeniously sculps the movement to fit a general narrative, from depression, to hope, to happiness and back to depression. The overall depressive nature of this album as I've tried to explain is sometimes counterbalanced by a cheerfulness mainly achieved by beautiful clean instrumental passages reminiscent of Alcest, Lifelover, Apati and the like. However, don't expect the stellar production some of the aforementioned bands employ to get their point across. This ep carries itself on the droning repetition of sad guitar riffs which do not seem to get boring. Each track can only boast of having around 4-5 riffs if you can even call them that. Unfortunately, the musicianship in exposition on this offering is lacking in technicality and is extremely derivative. Still, the EP doesn't invite you to hate is, like some other bed-room black metal offerings seem to unconsciously do.

The production on this album is very good and fitting to the theme of the album. The guitars are muffled in distortion but each note can be heard loud and clear. The programmed drums do the job right at not really standing out but at the same time proving to be the backbone of the mini-record. The bass is practically non-existent but the way this record is weaved doesn't make the listener crave or miss the absence of this instrument. The vocals are pretty impressive but can become very boring very quickly, however they are placed very appropriately and do not become overbearing and over-stay their welcome. In general, the vocals can be considered as secondary in this EP since the guitars seem to be the main focus. Without any use of keyboards or synths in the first two songs, the guitars create a very hopeless atmosphere usually achieved by excessive use of those two aforementioned instruments. However, the lack of those two instruments in the first two songs is made up in the third and last track. The last track is an instrumental ambient track very reminiscent of songs such as Burzum's much loved "Tomhet". This track becomes boring very quickly, however, showing no signs of pacing. There's no climax, there's no meaning behind it, it's just there for its own sake. It has literally no point. The ending could have been made more interesting if the song was way shorter.

I suggest that anyone who's looking for innovation in their music and stellar musicianship to stay away from this album. However, those who can enjoy derivative depressive black metal bands should definitely check this EP out, you will not be disappointed. Impressive work overall!