German musician, Herbst, has created two of the most iconic albums in blackgaze music – ‘.neon’ and ‘Agape’ – both were collaborations with Alcest’s Neige and fans have been anxiously awaiting the product of Herbst’s solo effort, after the pair parted ways. Following Alcest’s snorefest ‘Shelter’, it was slightly worrying to find Herbst had also opted to produce a purely shoegaze effort with none of the blackened elements involved.
However, where ‘Shelter’ falls flat, ‘Melting Sun’ soars – this record is a psychedelic and alluring post-metal experience and a continuation of the experimentation that was merely hinted at on previous albums. Like its title suggests, ‘Melting Sun’ provides this fulfilling, warm cycle of emotions made apparent within the infectiously thick and melodic rhythm guitar. The vocals are pushed to the back of the mix and don’t provide anything all that impressive, however, for the glacial pace of the music and the easy, relaxed atmosphere protruding from the music, not much else is needed.
‘Golden Mind’ is both the highlight and the most disappointing track on this opus; gentle, ambient clean guitar passages and swelling backdrops help round out some of the harder hitting, bulky guitar progressions making for some of the most stunning and complex song writing Herbst has produced to date. At the same time, the album peters out on a flat note that ends too quickly and more gently than the six tracks truly deserve.
Overall, this is a demonstration of Herbst really coming into his own realm of musicianship – he has thrown off the shackles of black metal and by striking out on his own has proven himself to be one of the most talented songwriters and guitarists that this genre has to offer. An outstanding and thoroughly well put together effort.
(8/10 Angela Davey)