Review Summary: Up-beat d-beat black metal seems to be an arising trend.
Emerald Weapon is at experimental black metal project from the Pacific Northwest USA. The band debuted earlier this year in June with a self-titled EP which showed a band attempting to experiment not only with ambient/drone pieces, but also (and separately) very melodic punk-infused post-black metal. On the band’s second EP, Part II: Earth Encrypted
, the band continue to develop this style with another four (mostly short) tracks.
Featuring a short doomy introductory piece and three following "main" tracks, the band’s sound on the album can essentially boil down to either atmospheric, melodic drone or melodic d-beat/blast beat focused black metal not dissimilar to Black Monolith. The first full track, “Crpyto-Imprisonment” is comprised of the latter style, beginning with d-beats and relatively basic punk-inspired chord progressions before smoothly transitioning into blast beats halfway through.
Although the band’s previous EP featured four tracks and was equal parts drone and metal, this second EP only includes one experiment with drone music on the third track, “Cement Rivers.” Here, guitar feedback bombards the listener with rhythmic booms whilst a vaguely melodic lead whines underneath. This crawling piece serves as a nicely placed break between the record's fairly similar two main tracks, allowing space for each to shine in the context of the EPs relatively short runtime. The final track, “Earth Exposure”, picks up where “Crpyto-Imprisonment” left off with more blasts, d-beats, and melodic leads layered overtop black metal riffing.
It should be noted that while the band’s “post-black metal + d-beats” formula might remind oneself of other bands attempting the same basic combination of influences (Black Monolith specifically) the band is
able to compile and execute this assortment of styles in a way that does make itself seem unique and--at the end of the day--still fairly interesting. These tracks are neither too long nor too short but rather seem to hit that “sweet spot” of medium length, allowing both punk and black metal sections to run their courses before becoming tiring or repetitive, while simultaneously giving the listener enough time to completely digest the numerous layered melodies.
For only the project’s second release, Part II: Earth Encrypted
shows a definitely talented young band tightening its sound and--more importantly--figuring out not only where it wants to go, but how it plans to get there.