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Blyh - Awake to Emptiness - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, January 14th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, The Crawling Chaos Records

Blyh are another great addition to the roster of German label The Crawling Chaos Records. Just one year after their full length debut “Transparent to the World” they follow up with “Awake to Emptiness”. Similar to their prior work this record is full grim and cold yet ultimately captivating music.

Like it is the case with more or less each metal genre having its origins way back in the eighties there is little room left for innovation. There is a reason why some bands made big waves back then and have gained a lot of followers over the past decades. Blyh are clever enough to pay tribute to some of the big names and chose a quite conservative approach of taking all the well-known single pieces putting them back together and enhancing them with a little bit of their own DNA to create something that sounds familiar but fresh at the same time.

The classic tremolo lines are in full force and there are a lot of the typical epic and often melancholic melodies that we all know from the Scandinavian bands of the second wave of black metal. There are glimpses of the minimalistic and raw approach that used to define black metal in the beginning but also some bits that have a more laid-back and less adventurous feeling. Some of the trademark chords even show nods to several death metal outputs so the overall sound presents and interesting and highly entertaining mixture.

The lead harmonies are always there in the background providing a lot of haunting harmonies and lending the whole music a sinister and moody overall feeling. Blyh have put a lot of emphasis on creating an atmosphere that is eerie and dark yet has a certain kind of melancholic beauty. Pitched against the heavy riffs and the pummeling blast attacks those main themes give the record a very special character.

The vocals are spooky and gave me goose bumps during the first spin. It feels like a ghost from the other side is howling through space and time to warn us mortals about some dark and ancient secrets. While this is a quite familiar approach it perfectly works in this context and feels like a natural fit.

The production is almost flawless with the right combination of rawness and clarity to give each instrument and sonic detail enough room to breathe. The end result is a very natural and organic sound fitting the music like a glove. The CD version comes with nice and atmospheric artwork so each collector should be glad to get enough worth for his money.