Season of Mist, 25.08.17 Der Weg Einer Freiheit is once again here with a new album. Where I missed out on the debut, the Germans impressed me with their second album, something I also wrote in connection with the third album Stellar, where I also mentioned that the expression had a more consistent and concentrated touch.
Some of the playfulness and unpredictable attics that caused Unstille - as the title suggested - to not stand still, were toned down, and a kind of post-metallic expressions burdened with gravity had snuck in.
With Finisterre, the quartet again shifts their expression somewhat. But not much. The biggest change since the last time is probably the soundscape. Where the sound gave Stellar a slightly uniform design, Finisterre has a little more dynamic difference between the atmospheric and the extreme parts of the expression. The album is very atmospheric, with an ethereal sound ringing in the background. At the same time, there's a hysterical and desperate mood in the more intense segments which prevents total blackgaze. The fact that the production also has alright dynamic values is also an advantage.
The rawer parts have, as before, some details to offer, and the album varies well within the overall framework. That the boys offer a slightly monotonous post-metallic expression, however, can't be ignored. When I've listened a bit to Stellar in connection with this review, it must be said that it creates okay moods in the very present, but I can't claim to recall much of the music itself. Music within this landscape needs highly memorable segments to stand out and be remembered. To the extent that that's necessarily a significant point in its own right. After all, I guess you could say that the most important thing in the end of the day is the effect the album has right there and then. There's nevertheless no denying that the albums you go back to time and time again, are those who initially left a strong and lasting impression.
Finisterre only has five songs, and these vary greatly in duration. Aufbruch opens very atmospheric. So too does 14 minutes long Ein letzter Tanz, who also ends quietly and soaring. Right in the middle, more intense music with fast percussion and plagued vocals is seated. The abrupt transition around 3:21 comes just as conveniently during every spin. The first two songs to stand out were Skepsis Part I and II. Two five-minute songs that with their dark melancholic moods, suitably intricate guitar details and gripping melodies, gives a stronger impression. The finishing title track has a very muted, jazzed and almost depressive, Shining-like segment with orchestral accessories. This appeals a lot, but otherwise, the rest of the song moves on an intense-atmospheric trail that becomes a wee bit anonymous and monotonous.
Der Weg Einer Freiheit creates some good melodies and moods, but they no longer impress quite as much as before. I suspect this it is just as much (if not much more) due to development in my own subjective taste than to the Germans' evolution. In the right state of mind, the album is ever so relaxing. Thus I choose to be somewhat gentle in terms of rating. All in all, the quartet offers more music without any huge surprises. Execution and quality is of course impeccable. The big individual question thus becomes whether the style appeals to each and every one.
And only you can answer that question. Rating: 4-
Polish Nyctophilia is a one-man band crafted by Grief not fully three years ago, in December 2014. So far, 10(!) releases have been dropped. Half of which this very year. The last one being a split released about a month ago.
The band's black and atmospheric metal is based on the spiritual links to nature, death and the satanic spirit, whilst our man also linger over darkness and depression. Dwelling in the Fullmoon Light takes the listener on a depressive journey in the mind's necrotic moods, and the voyage is made with primitive vessels.
When depressed meets the atmospheric, especially if disgust and hatred are taken out of the equation in favour of soaring tones over wooded sceneries, the balloon is likely to deflate slightly (or the wind goes out of the sail). There's not necessarily anything wrong with that, but the expression of such an amalgam might easily flatten the tire somewhat, whilst sounding more resigned than desperate and harmfully downcast. Some of the material we encounter during these almost 50 minutes sounds like that.
Fortunately, there's also rawer material present in this work, where sadness and dejection come more to its own. Aggressive passages with delightful primitive sound, and serrated vocal with teeth sharp as a bread-slicing machine also occurs. Dwelling in the Fullmoon Light has moods and roughness, but when necrotic, atmospheric black metal sets the premise for the musical journey, it's not possible to sweep under the carpet that similarities in expression is already available ad nauseam. Whether or not one lets this lack of originality put a damper on the experience is, however, an individual decision.
In a time characterized by diluted post-modern hybrids and semi-black and blackened whatnot, Nyctophiliaha is at least the real deal. The sound is adequately grating while music and vocals tear rifts in the ears, and a stench of anguish settles like mist in the wilderness. I've heard better, but I still enjoy this lonely, pristine landscape, in asocial company with Grief.
The music is nevertheless of a form that many seem quite able to make in their basements and bedrooms, and its rather simple structure prevents any great objective admiration. The cover art, “Winter landscape at night”, is by the way painted by Richard Augustus Zimmermann in 1863. Rating: 3+
Not long ago, I stumbled across the Russian trio Bestial Sight, and their first release, When You Need Metal...Go To Hell. The band comes from Krasnodar in southwestern Russia, east of Crimea, between the Black Sea and The Caspian Sea, and plays black metal infused with elements from other forms of extreme metal.
The album, whose name ain't just confusingly similar to Hells Headbangers slogan, seemed tempting, while the cost of a digital copy was far from discouraging.
The band begins calm and atmospherically, with the introduction built into the first song Intro-Hordes of Impious Legions. The eerie tones increase in strength, and the pace rises in rhythmic crescendo, until the band reaches its natural infernal expression about halfway in the song. The band plays offensively, with energetic frontal attacks supplemented by melodic and dissonant guitar lines, varied war rhythms and angry, hoarse, black screaming. Some death metal can be traced in the lads work, and a scent of thrash à la Sepultura can sometimes be sensed.
After five self-written songs clocking in at a bit over four minutes on average, the band slip in two cover songs before returning to their own material and rounding off with their longest song. The classic Funeral Fog seems a bit unnecessary in this setting. The Russians deliver a somewhat more limp version than the original, and don't add anything new capable of giving the song their own distinct expression. The pace is a bit slower than most versions, and as such reminds me most of the version from Live in Leipzig. Vocalist (as well as guitarist) Astaroth do earn a pat on the shoulder for his great voice. It's closer to Dead than Attila, by the way. A cover of the song Carpathian Forest follow. It's a good version, although it's relatively loyal to the version from Morbid Fascination Of Death, and as such don't have much identity of its own to brag about. And with that, exactly half an hour have passed by. The duration is displaced to 37:28 when Bestial Sight say good bye with mighty Summoning to Baphomet.
The sound of When You Need Metal... is rich and sonorous, raw, unpolished and powerful. The drum's somewhat uncommon and most charming clang must be mentioned. The guys present a lot of tough hybrid metal equipped with killer sound on their debut. The band's name is worth taking note of, and the album is definitely worth checking out. Rating: 4+