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2015 AOTY - 99%

caspian, September 8th, 2015

It's hard not to wax eloquently about the superb lyrics, wonderful musicianship, lush, verdant atmosphere, fantastic guitar tone etc that pervades this album- and far better writers have done so than me. I think one thing that they've tended to forget is that, all the high faluting thoughts about the music aside, that this is a really fun album.

Quick counter example- Neurosis. Through Silver in Blood, obviously a masterpiece, very deep and meaningful, but I can't really think of many riffs that got me going beyond, what, the title track, locust star, maybe the cool end of Aeon? I dearly love that album, but sometimes it's good if you can have something that's a bit profound while also just being super pretty. Obsequiae's Aria is that super smart supermodel, that actress who's got a PhD, whatever.

It's in the melody, the way the guitars bounce off each other. Fitting the overgrown greenery vibe that's throughout, everything is just stuffed full of the coolest sounding notes these guys could think of. Autumnal Pyre is a really really really really happy Sacramentum with a bunch of spellbinding leads, Orphic Rites uses all these great higher register notes that explode from the fuzzy mire like a bad metaphor about blooming plants, while Absence of light cheerfully spends a few minutes noodling itself into blissful oblivion. It's all very noodly, with all these very notey riffs and a big tendency for the songs to follow the narrative thread that the lyrics put forth; hard to pull off but here it's done with superb aplomb.

You could definitely describe this album as those oppressive, heavy castles that Sacramentum built with Far Away From the Sun getting ruined and overgrown by a particularly enthusiastic forest, but I'm not entirely convinced that description does this album justice. I think these guys are better at really building a story with the songs, and it's hard to think of a single transition/tempo change that's even remotely awkward... It's a very smooth album.

Finally, the lyrics really are fantastic and the whole medieval-europe-and-nature mix is an endlessly fascinating and enchanting topic, done justice by the fascinating and enchanting music here. The blending of medieval Christianity (in the polyphonies, general modes, etc) and nature worship/mysticism works really well, and perhaps far less awkwardly then it did one thousand or so years ago! I'm not too inclined to share my rambling thoughts on the matter as I'm not an expert... I would just recommend you listen to this album so you can come up with your rambling ones.

Supremely enjoyable, beguiling, enchanting, endlessly interesting. I think I've raved enough. Cheers!