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Deserves more attention - 70%

ColoursOfTheSun_8, June 28th, 2020

I came across this album after about a year of listening to black metal and for the past few months had been listening to the more atmospheric/ambient (whatever people want to call it) bands of the genre such as Winterfylleth, Drudkh and Panopticon. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the striking album cover which is still one of my favourites to date. For me, album covers are always important at setting a mood and atmosphere for the music and I think the imagery of this album fits in well. The slightly raw production works well with the more melancholy themes present but at moments it definitely holds back the record from having a fully immersive sound that would improve the more climactic moments. The vocals are standard black metal growls however, in the mix they often seem to sink into the background in sections which actually benefits the atmosphere, the words are mostly indecipherable anyhow so there’s nothing really lost.

Although there aren’t any ground-breaking new ideas on this record, the tracks are definitely in the top tier of the genre as the songs are well-structured and performed to a high standard while also showing a different lyrical perspective of the genre. The first track ‘Illusions Perish’ makes use of hypnotic guitar work to draw the listener in while the fast relentless drumming frequently changes pace throughout the track preventing it from sounding like just another WITTR song. At over eleven minutes in length there is plenty of room to naturally build up emotions and intensity without feeling rushed but doesn’t become boring either. Next is ‘Entropic Collapse’ which is a slow, plodding track which features some monk-like chanting and has an interesting guitar solo. Unfortunately this solo doesn’t lead to anywhere; therefore the slow, moody and repetitive nature of the track causes it to be mostly forgettable.

Slowing down even more for ‘River of Eternity’ which is a “walk through the woods in the rain” acoustic guitar track which many bands of the genre like to do although this is definitely one of the better ones out there. This leads into ‘Transcendence’ which is a lengthy masterpiece that contains the best bits from all three previous songs, with fast paced sections that flow into melodic and slower moments with the monk like chanting, and also an acoustic section that leads into the climactic ending. It’s clear that there is the musicianship to allow for the instruments to take the lead and keep you engaged throughout. Rounding up the album is ‘Ashen Remains’ which is a six-minute melancholic piano track which isn’t always a regular occurrence of the genre but definitely fits the bleak mood of the album.

Like all ambient black metal albums, the lyrics here are dark and miserable although unlike many bands that choose to focus on either nature or suicide and depression, the lyrics instead focus on society, humanity and life. The opening track is about materialism, it’s written as a message/ warning with lines such as “Abandon the future and forsake the past, learn to accept that nothing will last”. ‘Entropic Collapse’ is a pessimistic and hopeless track on the self-destructive human nature. Lastly is ‘Transcendence’ which mentions that in fear of death, people turn to religion in search for salvation and enlightenment but by allowing “false guardians” to dictate their lives they obstruct themselves from experiencing life itself.

Intelligently written and open to interpretation the lyrics are definitely worth looking up as they add a new dynamic to the album. While the subjects are bleak and critical it doesn’t feel angry but instead has a sad and hopeless tone, as if the words are spoken (screamed) from someone observing humanity from an outside perspective. From the sound of raw, blasting black metal in contrast to the nature driven acoustic pieces, and funeral-like final track this is an incredibly layered album that’s worth re-listening to. With two decent enough acoustic instrumentals and ‘Entropic Collapse’ being boring and forgettable this album unfortunately lacks enough material for a high rating however, ‘Illusions Perish’ and ‘Transcendence’ are two of my favourite songs that I would highly recommend to anyone looking to get into a more atmospheric style of black metal.