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an avant-garde gem - 94%

harvestman, January 31st, 2007

Usually I can tell from the cover whether I will like the music on the album inside-- this is one time when I was proven wrong. When I first saw this, I had my doubts, but went ahead and bought it, for some reason that I've since forgotten. The cover is of the most extreme low-budget black metal variety, with absolutely no concessions made to any kind of accessibility. Everything is blurry and deliberately unreadable. And then I listened to it a few times, and was somewhat impressed, but not enough to bother listening to it again. It languished in the nether reaches of my collection for a few years. I remember thinking that it seemed too much like a bunch of riffs strung together without too much song structure. And the vocals bothered me. A little while ago, though, II gave it another spin-- I had been listening to a lot of Ved Buens Ende and Deathspell Omega, and was searching for another fix of avant-garde blackness-- and something clicked. It has since become one of my favorite albums. It even beats Ved Buens Ende, one of my favorite bands, in some ways. Most of the chords used on here have a jazzy sound to them-- there is rarely a moment on here that isn't downright weird. Very progressive, in the true sense of pushing the limits of the genre. And also avant-garde in the best sense, without resorting to diverse instrumentation, but using the usual instruments in unexpected ways. I now like the vocals, too, which fall somewhere between a moan and a scream, very unique. The music has a very creepy otherwordly atmosphere, too, that somehow manages to be scarier than a lot of the more brutal black metal bands. It stays within the confines of black metal, while doing something very new. Great, great stuff.