Review Summary: Witness your God's demise.
Nowadays, black metal has found itself in quite a whirlwind of changes. Or rather, I not changes, a whirlpool of popularisation and forward-pushing of already clearly established boundaries for its derivatives. Much to the credit of the bands like Deafheaven for bringing that shoegaze post-metal into the wider audience’s frame of reference, now more and more can we come across bands tuning up the old used up atmospheric black metal with heavy doom metal direction. But not the old campy kind and not the funeral-gazing depressive kind either, but more of a progressively played overwhelming mixture of harshness and some lethargic themes. Think of the likes of Conjurer, Thou and now also Wild Hunt.
It starts off creepily enough with a muted, toned-down piano (or organ, not sure) that throws you atmospherically into some abandoned decimated church, only to then have it engulf in flames once the metallic harshness starts, but having choir-like background vocal effects and enough instrumental depth to actually still carry on the whole church-like shtick. And many songs start off similarly, first a subtle, sombre, creepy acoustic instruments sets up a particular vibe, as if it were a scene in a whole new location with a whole new objective, and then it devolves into something monstrous, while still maintaining the set up atmosphere. The grandiose guitar riffs on “Odious Gamble” that burst into arena-sized combat chant; rusty forest-y acoustic guitar on “The Last Saeculum” crawling into ghoulish witchcraft of a tune, also being one of the most traditionally doom-sounding cuts on the record; drone-y monstrous growls and ghastly ghostly sounds veiled in nightly fog on “Nest of Flames”.
The band knows how to create an atmospheric powerhouse. Every song has its own story, even if not clearly lyrically stated, the interchanging vibes and constantly renewing atmospheres certainly add to that theory and with each song you can find yourselves in completely different medieval, beast-inhabited, dungeon-shaped epic adventure that still ends up being grim and distressing in the best traditions of horror genres. It is an ode to the fright in its many forms. Devilspeed!