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Of Redemption, Wandering and RPG Soundtracks - 76%

TheStormIRide, December 24th, 2014

Chiral is a one man black metal project from Piacenza, Italy. Formed in early 2014, the project has already amassed three releases, a demo, and EP and, most recently, a split with the dark/black ambient project, HaatE, titled Where Mountains Pierce the Nightsky. HaatE is also a one man project that, according to the band's biography, wishes to stay anonymous for the sake of artistic expression and not being compared to other projects that he's in. The split, released digitally by Sixsixsix Music in October of 2014, features three tracks from HaatE and a single, long player from Chiral.

The split begins with HaatE's ambient soundscapes, featuring wispy noise and whimsical keyboard patterns that could pass for excerpts from the soundtrack to Final Fantasy IX. According to the album's notes, HaatE's portion of the split attempts to portray the journey of a spirit looking for redemption. Indeed, the sounds presented are extremely introspective. Occasional touches of atmospheric black metal work their way into the mix, much like when the protagonist of some RPG is battling with the forces of evil. Rather than just floating ethereally by, parts of this side, like “Crystal”, focuses on those RPG type moments and juxtapose raw and grainy black metal into the background. It's similar to what Lustre has done before, yet HaatE focuses more on the ambient portion of their sound.

Chiral's lone track, “Everblack Fields of Nightside”, is twenty minutes long and packs a large amount of variation within. It's the type of track that requires focus and attention, swiftly moving from ethereal keyboard passages with minimalistic percussion into sweeping atmospheric black metal focusing on melodic trem picking and shrieking vocals. Continuing with a similar theme laid down by HaatE's tracks, this song focuses on the same type of journey towards redemption, only with a mortal protagonist. Fast paced and clamorous percussion bursts forth while tendrils of melodic guitar licks and distant wailing screams float towards melodic breaks that encompass serene keyboard notes and slowly picked guitar notes. The cycle basically repeats throughout the track, but it's constructed well enough to keep the listener's attention and there is enough lurking beneath the surface to warrant repeat listens.

The production is a little rough around the edges, but it seems to work in both Chiral and HaatE's favor. The rather raw sound coupled with atmospheric wandering and ethereal keyboards provides an enticing backdrop. This isn't the type of album that will enamor you with showy musicianship, but the songs are constructed thoughtfully and will provide a decent listen to fans of airy, sweeping atmospheric black metal. Despite their rather stark differences in style, Chiral and HaatE's music sits together quite well.