I really like my ambient/atmospheric black metal. In part I guess it goes back to Burzum of course, but also Mortiis when Keiser Av En Dimension Ukjent came out and Akhenaton and, oh, stuff like that. The press release for this as well as being slightly barking (or lost in translation) mentions lots of Burzum which seemed a good start even if the bit about ‘taking this form of art to higher peaks’ reads as way more hubris than reality.
Split into four parts, this opens with a spot on bit of Burzum brooding with an icy riff and keyboard drone and stretched exhaling, rasping vocals. The vocals in particular are good and the melody theme is a little Forteresse in style. It is all a good start, the atmosphere trickling in like damp fog, laying it down softly. Then halfway through the song (that’s six minutes or so) you realise that is all that has happened; the atmosphere for me is still hesitating on the threshold and there is no journey, no movement to compensate. Weirdly, a little later the melody shifts and suddenly we are in a place that sounds like a V N V Nation coda. Yet again not something I dislike at all. The problem I have is that nice and melancholy though the theme is, it fails to seep in to my surroundings and becomes a simple repetition. Again, something that early Mortiis relied heavily on, but it had a naive charm and a vision that it was able to relay, something that this fails to do for me.
Part two follows the template minus the V N V Nation sound: The good points being that this is well woven, simple cloth. There is nothing bad about the melody thread, simply unwavering. In its simplicity it too has it’s charm and there are echoes of Midnight Odyssey in the falling, dripping notes of part three and yet inside you know that Dis Pater would have made more of this minimalist frame. Part four leaves us with rain, mostly, keyboards creeping behind and is actually the most atmospheric passage here. Had it come after some thing more then this might have been a lovely, still closer. As it stands, it is a sombre nod to Filosofem.
The problem, the real problem is that the music neither builds another world around me nor takes me on a journey to one. This is pleasant, gentle music that simply is. Clearly well crafted, nevertheless for me it falls well short of the huge heights aimed for by the press release. Sorry.
Oh and record companies, never mention Ryan Air and musk together in a PR piece about black metal. Please….