Review Summary: The best Paysage d'Hiver that's not actually Paysage d'Hiver.
What is there to be said for Battle Dagorath’s latest wintry offering of black metal, the fifth in a long line of similarly wintry recordings" I can note that II - Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness
is the second piece to their 2016 release, I - Dark Dragons of the Cosmos
, but what does that mean in the context of the album" Not very much in truth. It’s a fact, but not one that significantly affects what it means to be a Battle Dagorath album in 2017. There isn’t a stylistic change that really sets it apart from any previous album, and there’s no obvious musical link between the two, just those fanciful roman numerals in the album titles. It’s also somewhat the equivalent of beating a dead horse to mention the band’s common comparisons to Paysage d’Hiver, warranted as the title of “best Paysage d’Hiver that’s not actually Paysage d’Hiver” is. There’s just not all that many out of the ordinary characteristics at play here. It’s a Battle Dagorath record, plainly put, perhaps arguably the fifth edition of the same product with just a little bit higher quality wrapping paper. And yet I keep spinning it again and again because there’s just something about it that’s so satisfying against all odds.
Much like Paysage d’Hiver and their ilk, atmosphere is king here, even to the point where individual songs or the need for single standout moments lose their meaning. You listen to the whole album and let the tone sweep you away to a faraway place, or you don’t listen at all. There are really only two ideas that occur across the entire album; relentless, blasting, frozen black metal and grand, spacious ambience. While no one can make as much incredible material out of just two essential ideas as well as the original masters, Battle Dagorath come as close as mortal men can, forging well over an hour of quite enjoyable material out of these two fundamentals. When broken down to the base components, there’s no reason to think there would be much of value here but the engaging atmosphere makes all the difference. While Battle Dagorath stick to simple tremolo riffs, blast beats, and classic black metal shrieks, the sheer frozen feeling of the album gives it the power it needs. It falls just short of capturing the engulfing tone of classics like Winterkaelte
, but this is the closest Battle Dagorath have come over the last decade, every individual aspect having been refined minutely to make an album that shows narrow improvement, but improvement nonetheless. That’s really the essential idea behind the success of II - Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness
. It’s an intrinsically simple album that rises to excellence by digging deep on the one strength it knew it could hone, the atmosphere. Much like Paysage d’Hiver, I’ve never once listened to an album of their’s and actually remembered a great deal of it afterwards, but the feelings it provokes in me are unforgettable.