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An ode to a forbiden emotion to our kind - 100%

mpvanriper, December 14th, 2009

Greetings. I have not yet been able to get my hands on a copy, in any format, of this jewel yet; I heard it on an audio file given to me by someone. When I started to hear the first song I told the guy it was funny, it actually cheered me up in a bad day. Then, something happened at home that made me leave for a while, leaving the conversation open so that the rest of the tracks passed. When I returned he had left and all the files where transferred.

I then proceeded to hear the tracks and heard the German spoken intro, which if you really listen to it, you can tell it’s a read out and about something serious, about himself and how he lives the duality of men, reflected within him.

As before, Ash presents us a very personal record; in this case, a slightly twisted but poetically accurate vision about the seasons of love, from start to finish. I think this applies to all kinds of love, with the only exception being, in most cases anyway, parental love. But Ash presents us this piece of art focused on the love for a woman in an extremely sentimental and passionate way.

The factor that I would consider makes this album a black metal record (contrary to whatever anyone says, I really don’t care) is that it all sounds insane, almost psychotic, manic obsessive… like a wacko locked in a padded cell in a madhouse during a nervous crisis. The passion here expressed both lyrically and musically is demented. And I don’t know about you, but I consider dementia to be a primordial ingredient in black metal.

Starting with the spring, a very gentile and sweet, corny song, perfectly describes the feeling of fresh love when one is young and cheerful. Being this obviously compared, as the album title suggest, the seasons of the year. As I said, the first track is the spring, when flowers bloom, and birds sing after a long silence. The same way one feels happy and silly after one’s first kiss. The cheerful melody will give you the idea to play it in a children’s party. I actually imagine a green field with rabbits and cows… and some chickens too... Anyway, after the song really starts it sounds like the soundtrack for a juvenile adventure story, brave and strong, towards the unknown. The song actually progresses as the season does, and so the story as it starts the real journey.

The summer, obviously being a love song due to its warmth, starts with some birds singing and with a heroic harmony, in a cartoonish way, like one feels after a few months of being in love, valiant ahead in the adventure of a relationship, when nobody else exists in the world but one’s lover. It’s a warm song that progresses as summer fades into autumn, and those magical days when the wind blows on your face and the air is more thin, and all the moist goes away, when the sky has more stars at night and not a single cloud can be seen, when your skin is fit and the wind blows away all the smog giving clean air. When you can go up a hill and scream...

The highpoint in the album is in my opinion the last riff in this song. It often gives me watery eyes, for it makes me imagine kissing my own beloved before a landscape at sunset and being so madly in love it’s almost cathartic and you go nuts and do everything and anything for her. The music is melancholic and very rich, emotionally speaking; it catches you instantly and takes you in a trance (unless you are one of those so called “purists” -I call them morons- that don’t understand that black metal, just like any other type of music is art, and art is in truth the expression of the human soul.

Autumn, being almost instrumental, describes the many moments of a decaying relationship, those states of fear of being alone and doubt if it’s still love or if it’s become habit. That time of the year when the leaves turn brown and gray, when all flowers wither. When birds start to flee from the weather, just like friends and acquaintances notice there is something wrong between the lovers, those nasty pointless arguments about nothing that could be really important. Those days in which one longs for solitude but cannot find it because the loved one is always present. When you can never be alone, when one becomes frenetically desperate for no reason and you start looking for a reason to break up. Sad moments looking out the window with darkening storm clouds gathering at the horizon, like the smell of rain before a storm, and the melancholic memory of the summer lurks around endlessly in one’s mind, when you try to mend your mistakes and try, uselessly to meek up with the lover. But you know it’s too late, for the bond of love has already been shattered, and the air grows cold. Expecting the inevitable…

The winter, as one would imagine, is the most “typical” black metal song in the album. There’s not much to say about this song since we all are familiar with the emotional turmoil black metal is supposed to give. In this case it’s extremely deep. Emotionless, rabid and intense. Fast like an emotional blizzard freezing everything it finds along the way. Killing it’s warmth when one turns bitter and angry with regret for past mistakes and being still melancholic and hungry for the arms of the recently deceased love, fading away only with time. It reminds me a bit of some recent Horna tracks, in the sense that leaves you with a sensation of emptiness at the end. This is exactly what happens after one breaks up a relationship after some time of really intense dating… that exquisite feeling of hopelessness… when the catharsis ends in dismay.

This is, in my opinion, the best Nargaroth album ever, and dare I say, it instantly became one of my all time favorites. I also dare to say this is one of the best 5 BM albums of the decade (yeah, go ahead, disagree with me and then shoot me). The only thing I don’t like about it is a small, almost unnoticeable breakdown 5 and a half minutes into the winter, right before the solo, but it’s so tiny it really doesn’t bother me, I mean, one flaw in an ocean of perfection? I'll let it pass.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this, be it in vinyl or CD. I don’t care.
A perfect ode to an often stigmatized emotion for black metalheads. Albums like this are what are able to keep alive that old flame of long lost passion towards a genera of music that long ago got too big for its own good.

I can perfectly understand why those that only care about mindless violent songs about overtly talked about, typical black metal lyrical themes such as raping the virgin and burning churches wouldn’t like this album. I suggest you to grow up a bit and expand your horizons to try to understand the genius behind this work of black art.

Thanks for reading my excessive ranting. I bid you all farewell. Do yourself a favor and buy this. It’s too good to be true.