I really don’t think that any genre across history has as interesting a story as that of Black Metal. Even stripping it back to the bare bones of a Satanic presence in music is an exciting past time. Indeed this too has fed into me discovering all manner of artists, namely Coven and Robert Johnson. Without sounding too lame the devil is responsible for not just the evolution of Black Metal but probably pop culture too. This is quite a broad statement I know but had it not been for the likes of Robert Johnson pushing the boundaries the world could be a very different place.
Whilst Norway is seen as the homeland of Black Metal the genres serpentine tendrils have stretched across the globe. Often this results in new scenes arising such as the American, Australian and even Greek Black Metal movements. Today we touch upon Italy and the archaic Frostmoon Eclipse. Formed in 1994 the band are perhaps one of the oldest from the Italian scene and indeed underlying purveyors of Black Metal’s general sickness. It wasn’t until 2001 that the band released their debut full length Gathering The Dark thus shoving them under the radar a bit when it comes to notoriety within the worldwide Black Metal scene. The band have stayed consistent however and now we welcome their seventh full length Worse Weather To Come, which comes to us through Immortal Frost Productions.
There is a pretty instantaneous old school Black Metal feel through I See The Void. Rasping vocals, tremolo picked riffs and low laying drums make up the raw Blackened framework for this track and indeed the rest of the release. This isn’t to say that the album is a one trick wonder, there is a hefty amount of atmosphere and more melodic passages to be found not only in the opening track but indeed throughout the record. It is these melodic portions that make the album so melancholic and equally interesting. Of course this sort of Black Metal has been done time and time again but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. A Room, A Grave is a prime example of this twisted beauty. Thriving drums lay beneath a layer of dissonant almost disconnected riffs and vocals to create a sound that is both parts extreme and delicate. The track even introduces clean softer vocals that just simply work and shouldn’t be questioned in any way. This is a perfect autumnal soundtrack that really conjures up images of beauty through dishevelment.
The acoustic portions in Sleep aid this sort of dark atmospheric sound further in an almost Post-Metal or even Agalloch or Alcest fashion. For a release which at its heart is very traditional there are a lot of newer techniques being brought into the mix. This sort of growth and development is welcome and indeed refreshing from a band with such a deep seated history. Finally the album comes to a close with Resignation which sees the release go full circle, treading old ground whilst continuing with its ongoing innovation. This is perhaps one of the more aggressive songs on the album but it still comes across as desperately ethereal and in tune with nature.
This is a truly inspiring record, it may not be particularly new in terms of the ideas it uses but it is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. It’s at least forward thinking Black Metal which at times is most pleasing. Whilst I enjoy early Black Metal this sort of evolution is key to keeping a genre afloat. I don’t mean to say that I’m bored of the likes of Mayhem or Emperor I just mean that it keeps everything fresh and ushers in a new age, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. What Frostmoon Eclipse have done here however is meld the old with the new and given their history this is a most welcome trait, it shows that they too care for and about the future of the genre.
(8/10 George Caley)