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A Highly Undervalued Masterpiece - 93%

S_Stormhammer, April 16th, 2012

It took me awhile to appreciate this album, truth be told. After Jahreszeiten, I expected Ash to continue in that direction, specifically with how he constructed the song Herbst. But this is different, and not a beginner's album for the black metal enthusiast. With only 3 tracks actually pertaining to black metal and the rest ambient, at first I felt betrayed by Nargaroth. I would insomuch go out of my way to flame his act on the airwaves. However, after much time spent away, I picked the album back up and gave it another try, and this time got a completely different feeling from the first time I listened to it.

This isn't even really a black metal album for Ash, but rather an experimental album with black metal influences. It starts out with these beautiful, sweeping violin interludes that, if expecting raw, unadulterated black metal hate, will leave you sorely disappointed. But all in all, a good intro for how he sets up the rest of the album. The next track is black metal, and nicely done too. It has various keys strategically placed to accent the guitars and Ash's vocals are raw and full of power, rather in the vein of classic Burzum, but with its own flair and style.

The next several tracks took me awhile to understand, though looking on them now I can appreciate and understand the level of detail they have. Again, like I said, this is not a beginner's album, specifically during Journey Through My Cosmic Cells [The Negation of God]. When I first heard it, I instantly pressed the ff button to see what else this album had in store for me. It's almost like trance/ritual music, but not bad. It is definitely worth listening to if you're trying to unwind, as most ambient music is.

The next two tracks are beautiful and breathtaking. A Whisper Underneath the Bark of Old Trees is so full of emotion that when I encountered it this second time, it almost brought me to tears with how stunning and sorrowful it sounded. Raw distortion mixed with a beautifully done riff makes for the perfect mix of German black metal, and Nargaroth nailed it. Even more so with his next track, which is the title of the album.

All in all, this album is not to be taken lightly. It has both good elements and bad, but in my opinion the good completely outweighs and even shatters the bad. I look on in interest for future Nargaroth releases, especially if Ash continues down this path with his contributions to black metal and even more of his dark ambient/trance releases.