Review Summary: So awesome it doesn't need a summary.
A year after their impressive first offering, North Carolina's Ayr return in 2011 to deliver another furious slab of atmospheric black metal goodness. Eternal Sustain is the second E.P from this young outfit and it improves exponentially upon a formula that was already pretty darn good to begin with. One glimpse at the artwork is enough to tell someone that they are in for a spiritual awakening. The burning marshmallows, the foreboding sky, the darkened solitary woodlands, snow covered earth. All these traits indicated to me that Eternal Sustain would plod through the speakers with equal parts savage aggression and primordial ambiance. And I was right. Eternal Sustain is a four track affair that covers the archaic heathen black metal template lied down by Ulver and Wolves in The Throne while distinctly being it's own identity.
It's a given that heart and soul deems music to be worthy or unworthy, important or unimportant. And with the heart and soul, along with influence, ambition, and restraint, an artist can achieve anything that they put their mind to. To me Ayr have done that with this E.P. "Eternal Sustain" is some of the most inspired and emotional modern black metal that i've ever had the pleasure of listening to. Characterized by steady bursts of aggression, compelling song dynamics, and fluid instrumental prowess Ayr seek to entrance the listener without the help of the goat ***ing minions of darkness. The emotion and atmosphere that "Eternal Sustain" portrays is not that of hatred, ignorance, or evil, but instead of sorrow, bitter defiance, and longing for a much simpler time. We are presented with four tracks on "Eternal Sustain." Two are purely instrumental while the other two are savage black metal pieces.
'Drifting' opens the disk with echoing drums and droning guitar notes similar to Wittr's Dea Artio. For five minutes you are greeted with downbeat minimalism before the soaring crescendo arises to the occasion to rip your face off. "An Opening In The Earth" greets you immediately with blistering tremolo picked riffs and doublebass. As the song progresses you begin to recognize the talent in Ayr's guitarists for being able to construct such outstanding melodies and rhythmic shifts amongst the speedy, straightforward template. See 3.30 and 6.20 marks for some exceptional instrumentation. Vocally, Ayr employ screamed vocals that while orthodox, provide the venomous bite and raw power needed to facilitate such emotional music. After this track ends you are greeted with another instrumental entitled "Released." This track portrays a depressive feel which is accentuated by ambient washes of keyboard. Closing the EP is the mighty "Lifted By The Light From My Breath" which reinforced the heavier aspect of Ayr. This track is no frills black metal with drawn out instrumental riff-fests, layered textures, and a colossal buildup seven minutes through.
Production is audible but it doesn't do anything to detract from the music's quality. All instruments sound equally mixed with nothing standing out in front of the other. It is well produced and augmented by the fact that Ayr are great songwriters. In this respect I feel that Ayr will garner significant recognition, mostly im sure from the faggot hipsters who ravage this land like a zombie hoard. Regardless, Ayr are a legitimate American black metal band with the potential to explode into the mainstream ala Deafheaven. Anyone in the market for talented, modern black metal bands should give Ayr a try.