The intercontinental black metal duo returns with their fourth album, which is actually the first part of an Opus, with the second part to be released before the end of the year.
The album starts with an ambient intro, and what follows is a 13 minute long icy, monotonous storm, quite typical for the genre mind you. If the whole album went that way, it would be unbearable, yet it doesn’t. The first hint of change comes in the form of a melodic solo near the middle of that first song, things pick interest from then on and you are promised that what follows will be an awesome cosmic ride on a black dragon. And oh boy, do they deliver!
If you endure until the “Return to Gates of Dawn” you realize this album is potentially one of the best releases of the year. It has this ‘barrier to entry’ that might put off the uninitiated, but the following 40 minutes just kept sending chills to my spine non-stop. The 3 remaining songs are majestic, and as new elements are being slowly revealed with every passing track things are kept interesting despite the long song durations.
The synths are a work of Vinterriket (yes, THE ambient legend) and I didn’t really expect anything less than cold and otherworldly stuff. Everything else is the brain-child of BSB (aka Black Sorcerer Battle). The guitars are sharp, cold, oozing despair, yet the melodic parts are enthralling. The fierce vocals sound oddly spacey and epic at the same time and raised my hair on many occasions. The drums are nothing short of special, but they serve their purpose well given the genre. Lyrically the album revolves around the cyclical nature of the cosmos.
The sound is generally good. The mix lets you listen to all instruments and you can easily follow the riffs through the distortion even on the most chaotic passages. This album went from zero to hero in just the first spin and I seriously can’t wait for the second part of this Opus.
Highly recommended for fans of Wolves In The Throne Room, Limbonic Art, first-era Emperor and (of course) Vinterriket.
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