Black Swan
The Quiet Divide


4.5
superb

Review

by Elijah K. STAFF
April 30th, 2011 | 159 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With "The Quiet Divide, "Black Swan have reached, and surpassed the high bar that they had set for themselves with last years debut. An immense and beautiful record.

If there was one thing that Black Swan (In 8 Movements) had in spades, it was poignancy. Black Swan’s debut was a dark and unsettling experience, but ultimately it was one of the most profound and wholly immiscible albums of 2010. It reeked of style and poise, which bolstered it as one of, if not the best ambient records of last year. This is what makes The Quiet Divide such a hell of a surprise--in just one short year not only have Black Swan duplicated the success of their debut, but they’ve even surpassed it.

Just about everything that was said about Black Swan (In 8 Movements) carries over unto The Quiet Divide. It’s a dark, deep, and beautiful record, yet hollow and devoid of any and all life, like falling into an abyss or a deep sleep. Yet it is a mistake to think that this isn’t more than a “dark ambient” record filled with frills and flourishes of pretty moments. Black Swan have crafted something deeper than that, a record that seamlessly blends a immense number of sounds, samplings, and influences that all blend to make a breathtakingly fascinating record.

Black Swan have essentially duplicated their sound from their eponymous debut, which really is nothing worth complaining about. That album, while exceptional in its own right, felt more of like a stepping stone to this, or rather, a test run. The solid ambient base is utilized to its full extent, and Black Swan simply add more and more onto it. Layering the minimalist timbre with samples and twisted harmonies, the overall sound is something of a marvel, a dichotomy of harsh, malevolent sounds, and uplifting and glorious beauty. It’s more orchestral this time around as well, featuring a bigger, more grandiose sound. Yet at its heart it is still the same foreboding, ominous sound that so captivates as much as it terrifies.

Like the album before it. The Quiet Divide feels like one long composition. The tracks blend seamlessly together, giving a sense of cohesiveness to the whole thing, as well as sounding incredibly consistent. Yet even more so than before, the album feels more varied and less muddled. Rarely will there be repeats in sound, as every track is exceptionally unique. The three series “Bleeding Hearts Alliance” (Phase 1,2,and 3, respectively) is spread out amongst the album, and really has a sound all its own. It’s the most minimally “dark ambient” thing on the record, with a hollow fuzz making up the majority of the songs. It’s sinister sounding, really, all whilst sounding intensely comforting. However, as wonderful as it sounds, it’s the more layered and “busy” songs that really make The Quiet Divide so exceptional. Tapping into the more “boisterous” sounds mentioned earlier, tracks such as “Black Eulogy,” “Angel Eyes,” and “DxSxDxH” feature a wide spectrum of elements, ranging from mournful strings to operatic vocals. Songs such as these really display this album’s truly inspired selection, and point to the artists’ care and devotion to their idea.

The Quiet Divide is a stunning and exceptional piece of music, and one of the great ambient works of the past five years. It’s painstakingly morose and melancholy, yet wonderfully beautiful and uplifting, and their proclivity to mesh these two sides is what makes the album such an incredible listen. Black Swan have topped themselves, crafting an album that not only replicates their poignant debut, but surpasses it in every conceivable way.



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user ratings (40)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2011


16138 Comments


Cool. Nice work, dude.

TheSpirit
April 30th 2011


18585 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Amazing review Xeno, perfectly describes the album and pretty much sums up my feelings for it as well. I'm glad you agree that this is better than 8 Movements as well even though they are both fantastic.







Pos.

Digging: Volahn/Shataan/Arizmenda/Kallathon - Desert Dances and Serpent Sermons

BallsToTheWall
April 30th 2011


45359 Comments


oh shit hipster dark ambient.

Digging: Firewater - Get Off the Cross, We Need the Wood for the Fire

TheSpirit
April 30th 2011


18585 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

hipster? how do ya figure?

BallsToTheWall
April 30th 2011


45359 Comments


Black Swan is hip on sputnik is it not?

TheSpirit
April 30th 2011


18585 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Kinda, the album ratings are high but that's only based off a few users. Both records deserve a lot more attention IMO

BallsToTheWall
April 30th 2011


45359 Comments


Well, now dark ambient is getting hip we mind as well break down the door and get death industrial and power electronics out into the open.

DarkNoctus
April 30th 2011


9233 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

awesome, going to try this tonight :] 8 movements is beautiful

TheSpirit
April 30th 2011


18585 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah Noctus you should love this tbh.

scissorlocked
April 30th 2011


3518 Comments


great review man, pos

I see stars of the lid and Eluvium at the recs, so I'll probaby check it out

Digging: Max Graef - Rivers of the Red Planet

Tyrael
April 30th 2011


21003 Comments


Great review as always Xeno.

GulliKyro
April 30th 2011


357 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Quite desolate indeed.

Rev
April 30th 2011


9655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn I really need this



Pos man

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2011


6724 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review, pos'd.





Listening to this right now from the band's bandcamp location.



It is really awesome...









Edit : ---- http://blackswan.bandcamp.com/album/the-quiet-divide-2011 ----

Digging: Sacri Monti - Sacri Monti

DarkNoctus
April 30th 2011


9233 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

listening now :]

psykonaut
April 30th 2011


3913 Comments


niiice, i have to get this pronto

Maniac!
April 30th 2011


26320 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yyeessssssssssssssssssss

psykonaut
April 30th 2011


3913 Comments


ugh, can't find a download. stream will have to suffice for now

DarkNoctus
April 30th 2011


9233 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is pretty much exactly what I expected it to be, it's fantastic. :]

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2011


7385 Comments


I have no further comment to make than, "Good review - pos."

=)

Digging: Pastel Lite - Etcetera



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