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Still Going Strong - 92%

Nokturnal_Wrath, March 4th, 2014

It’s unfortunate, but it’s to be expected, Procella Vadens doesn't reach the same heights as the bands previous full lengths. There’s a higher focus on droning walls of sounds and really long instrumental passages, and that’s all well and good, in fact this is a pretty freaking solid album, but when measured up to the bands earlier works I can’t help but feel that it’s missing something.

It’s still a great album mind you; the band has kept their melancholic yet beautiful style of black metal. There’s still a focus on mournful and melodic riffs but the band has stretched out the music a lot more. There’s more focus placed on the instrumental passages and a hefty amount of concentration was put upon the slower, more brooding compositions. The music doesn't feel as dynamic as before, there’s less transitions within each song, songs typically follow a single musical idea and expand upon them through subtle riff changes. Tempo isn't as fast as before with a higher tendency to focus on the slower, mournful compositions.

The second track is a relatively good descriptor for the rest of the album. Tortured vocals backed by melancholic, slow-mid paced riffs with militaristic drums setting a galloping pace. Much of the songs follow en suite, melodic leads repeated for a long time with little variation between each riff. Tonally this album feels more dejected and empty than before, there’s a large influx of depressive black metal on this album and a lot of the music suggests influences from bands such as Forgotten Tomb and Trist. Slow, melodic doomy inspired black metal melodies with a lot of focus on repetition and atmosphere. There’s not much in the way of dynamics or tempo changes, the band keeps at a relatively comfortable slow-mid paced speed with relatively little blasting sections. A Million Moons is the most doomy, depressive black metal inspired piece on the album. Clocking in at just over 10 minutes long, this is the albums highlight. The opening riff is very well written, creating a cold yet beautiful wall of sound. It’s still simple and still trawls along at the same slow-medium pace but it’s got a bite about it and is highly rhythmic.

Throughout the album there are some really nice atmospheric parts. The acoustic part in A Million Moons works well with the context of the music, there are even some strings which is a nice touch, it sounds quite desperate and empty which I guess is what the band was going for. The instrumental, atmospheric sections are good enough in their own right, but the increased length of the music prevents them from carrying the same effect they had before. The non metal elements are certainly well written and composed, but with the increased length the music ends up feeling a little bloated, even if the content is generally really good. At times the band seems to be suffering from a lack of riffing, but the music in general seems more concerned with setting a cold, unforgiving atmosphere than with creating a blazing black metal tempo. There are riffs, most definitely, but they’re rather slow, simple ones which are quite interchangeable between each track.

Sure, Procella Vadens isn't exactly a varied album and is probably the most bloated of this bands career, but it’s still incredible. I really like the instrumental passages; they’re original and well written. There are moments where the band takes a more traditional, blazing approach to black metal. Ego Universalis perfectly embodies this direction, with pulsating drum lines and rather speedy guitar riffs; it diversifies the album enough to prevent it from getting dull. Although the minimalistic approach doesn't work quite as well as the more riff oriented, faster direction of their earlier outputs, there’s still a lot to enjoy about this album. The guitar lines are original and well written, I like the way they balance beauty and melancholy. The vocals are some of the most expressive I've heard within a while, they’re very powerful and carry a great deal of emotion with them. If you’re a fan of the bands previous two albums, then you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s longer, with more focus placed on instrumental passages and winding ethereal leads but the core of the music has remained consistent. It might not reach the same soaring heights as ...Und die Welt Ward Kalt und Leer and Dämmerung der Szenarien but it’s a great album. It’s different in tone and mood to the other releases; a much darker beast than its predecessors. Recommended.