Review Summary: Stylistically progressing from Atmospheric Black Metal into Ambient-infused Funeral Doom, this album takes the listener on an exciting journey through space and time.
Void is the debut album of the Black Metal duo Widziadło. The label dubs their music “Cosmic Ritual Black Metal”, which is a fitting description, but only touches on some elements of their music. More on that later. The band consists of the musicians Zguba, who debuted in 2016 with an interesting martial industrial album titled „The Last Command”, and T., who would like to stay anonymous. The whole project was born in 2012, when the artists met each other by mere accident on a Chilean beach. They realized that they shared the dream of space travel to experience the cosmic void and this shared dream united them instantly. The idea behind Widziadło was to reach sonic transcendency, a breakaway from well known reality and dimension. Widziadło is the result of the longing for a metaphysical, out-of-body liberty, a transcendence into the cosmic void.
The completion of Void took over half a decade. Through the years, the project continuously changed its sonic identity – from space ambient to shoegaze, from sophisti-pop to harsh noise. The final result is an almost entirely instrumental album that combines all these elements into a rather unique sonic experience.
The album starts with “Gateway”, a track that begins like your typical shoegazy Atmospheric Black Metal song – a repeated riff and monotonous drums, howling incomprehensible vocals in the background. The folk influences become more obvious as the song goes on and the guitr works gets a bit more varied. It isn’t until the song is halfway over though, that something really interesting happens. The second half of the song was quite surprising to me though, as it introduces ambient elements to the Black Metal sound, reduces the tempo and starts getting more and more “spacey”. It becomes clear what the band is trying to convey with this album – a connection with the endless void of space on an atmospheric level. The guitar work on this track is a bit hindering in my opinion, as it stays rather monotonous and kind of boring throughout the whole track. A stronger focus on the ambient elements would have made this a better introduction to the album, in my opinion, but it is still a solid track in the context of the whole record.
With “Beyond Earth And Reason”, Widziadło are clearly paying hommage to well known Cascadian Black Metal acts like Wolves In The Throne Room
or Falls of Rauros
, but expand the typical Cascadian sound by synth lead melodies reminiscent of Atmospheric Black Metal bands like Elderwind
. It is a very atmospheric and beautiful track, that isn’t crazily original, but a very good Atmospheric Black Metal track that shows that Widziadło definitively have some decent songwriting skills and a feeling for atmosphere.
“Nether Reach” is the first pure Ambient track on the album – and a fantastic one. The atmopshere evoken by the droney industrial and cosmic sounding noises on this track is creepy and very evocative – it takes you right into “the void”. A fantastic track and probably one of my favorites on the album.
“Halo” is a combination of what has happened so far on the album – a song that takes in both Ambient and Metal elements and floods the listener with crushing waves of sound. This song cannot be described as Black Metal, but comfortably sits in the genre of Atmospheric Funeral Doom. With slow drums and guitars, laid over an ethereal Ambient soundscape, the track instantly creates an atmosphere of solitude and emptiness on a cosmic level.
“Creation” continues this stylistic direction and is another slow paced track that is primarily defined by dark Ambient walls of sound and slow Funeral Doom riffs, but also brings back some of the Black Metal elements that dominate the first two tracks on the album. The song has a very creepy vibe to it, which is supported by the avantgard structure of the first half of the track. This song is another fine example of great atmospheric music that sits in the upper echelon of the songs on this record.
The album is brought to a close by the epic 13 minute long “Entering The Void”, which is the culmination of all the influences that define the sound of this record, and is at first even slower in tempo, leaning towards the Drone Doom side of things, then getting back to the Black Metal sound that dominates the first two tracks, while throughout the playing time once more strengthening the ethereal concept of the album with dreamy synths and shoegazy guitar riffs.
Void is a surprising album that starts off sounding like an average Atmospheric Black Metal album, but then progresses into a mighty fine ambient-laden Blackened Funeral Doom record that is evocative and entertaining, chilling and beautiful and with a unique sonic and thematic identity. While the album has some problems regarding creative guitar work, especially on the Black Metal parts, the ambient elements and the general atmospheric value of the whole record make Void an album that is definitely worth your time, especially if you are a fan of Atmospheric Black Metal, Funeral Doom and/or Ambient music.