You could probably argue that almost all genres of Metal are endlessly dynamic and come with a massive array of sub-genre tags, which is probably what makes the genre as a whole so enticing. However if we are looking for the most diverse of sub-genres then I personally feel that the place to look is Black Metal, over the years the twists and turns the genre has seen have been endless, even to this day I frequently come across artists who bend the rules to a Black Metal aesthetic.
Urfaust who have become the staple of many a patch jacket seem to bend the laws of Black Metal to breaking point without tarnishing its true spirit and nature. Having formed in 2003 the band have gone on to release four full length albums and are now set to return with their milestone fifth achievement The Constellatory Practice, but is its blackened spirit still intact or have the boundaries been pushed too far.
There is a certain hypnotic edge that envelopes all of Urfaust’s albums an evolution that brings in a list of influences so endless it becomes genre-defying, The Constellatory Practice is no exception to this rule. To pin point singular tracks becomes difficult as the whole album weaves in and out of one another creating a long droning journey of unconventional Black Metal. Taking the heart of the genre as a base and building from it with vast repetitive, meditative tones the album progresses at such a slow yet well paced rate.
Admittedly this album could see a touch more anger, for a Black Metal album it isn’t exactly full of hatred rather it is full of ethereal soundscapes that seem to come to a head in the almighty Trail Of The Conscience Of The Dead exhibiting a more melodious tone and even bringing in string instruments to add a deeper atmosphere. That said however this track would be nothing without its counterparts.
Is this Urfaust’s finest hour? Only time will tell but I definitely find this to be a high point in their career and a magnificent landmark album. The Constellatory Practice will most certainly be living in my CD player for a while to come. A spectacular journey through the twisting halls of Black Metal an album that should be heard by all fans of Extreme Metal if only for its slightly off-piste ideals.
(8/10 George Caley)