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Skare > Skare > Reviews > we hope you die
Skare - Skare

Dense offering of sonic nutrition - 90%

we hope you die, September 22nd, 2022

Australia’s Skare delivery a near flawlessly executed slab of bracing melodic black metal for their self-titled debut. This is an exhilarating, cold, soaring, tight collection of soundscapes that consolidates the best elements of the genre, binding them into an austere package that is no less lacking in activity and life for the fact. A weighty backdrop of keyboards underpin a gentle guitar tone that sits at the cleaner end of the spectrum, almost allowing us to decipher the spacious twang of individual strings. Minimalist yet tight drums fill out the mix with fills and rolls that merge seamlessly with blast-beats to create an unsettling foundation, akin to the sensation of free falling, along with the ambiguous grip on our sense of self that this implies.

Simple yet effective themes sweep the listener off their feet, initially guided by that distinctively clear guitar tone, delivering bombastic yet oddly intricate melodic lines. Where some black metal attempts to pose as emanating from another reality, these riffs seem to soar above our present context, raining down from some celestial yet ephemeral realm of experience. Despite the aggression of the vocals, the package taken in its totality oozes eminently healing qualities bearing particular resonance for those with limited access to outdoor spaces beyond modernist mundanities.

As more restrained themes grant the music space to rest and dwell on a given moment, the strings will pick up the main theme of the guitars and recontextualise the opening bars into something more unified, still grander, and utterly immersive. In some cases this pattern might be reversed, for instance on the funeral doom opening to ‘Beyond the Church Spires’, that sees a tentative melodic character build stiltedly into fast paced gothic themes befitting the track’s title, thus building the intensity from the ground up.

And this is where the real strength of ‘Skare’ lies. It’s textural and technical offering is undeniably familiar for anyone versed in black metal of a more reflective, melodic character. But as a compositional beast this is a taught workhorse of an album, delivering fluid, intuitive, artisanal musical clusters that comprehensively fill out any empty spaces in one’s consciousness. As a spectacle of simple yet effective arrangements it is just as worthy of praise. The keyboards play a defining role in fleshing out these tracks, yet the actual melodic lines are kept restrained, never overshadowing the overall picture with heavy handed opulence common to symphonic black metal. They work in perfect unison with the guitar tone, linking up and diverging in harmonic character with ease. Drums keep the foundations of the music in constant, linear motion without ever mutating into an unwelcome centrepiece.

There is no star of the show, no effect or instrument that Skare became enamoured with to the detriment of the whole. A testament to the restraint of these pieces despite their obvious lavishness. ‘Skare’ is a strikingly well crafted debut that reaffirms black metal as the delicate art of nose-to-tail composition and mastery over an array of textural pastures. It flows into the mind offering both a shot of adrenaline yet also a touch of comforting familiarity in spite of its explicitly dense offering of sonic nutrition.

Originally published at Hate Meditations