Dark Watcher
Hymns Of A Godless Land


4.0
excellent

Review

by Zach USER (112 Reviews)
April 11th, 2021 | 15 replies


Release Date: 04/02/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The most sinister sound on this side of the Mississippi.

Metal loves its themes and theatrics. This statement shouldn't come as shocking. Well documented are the likes of Lord of the Rings keyboard driven atmoblack (Summoning), as are Egyptian scalings and mythological musings (Nile), as is blackened death metal that chronicles Cthulhu in all his evil aquatic overtones (Sulfur Aeon). Yet I cannot, even with this diverse array of sounds, feel as though the extreme spectrum is missing a contender…

Spaghetti Western black metal. Now, this could immediately be misconstrued as a meme pushing just how far genre fusions can go, however hear me out. How often have unlikely contenders been smashed together to warp our perception on just what great music can consist of (all eyes on Imperial Triumphant)? That is not to say that Hymns of a Godless Land exudes that same level of wonkiness or eccentricity, quite the contrary. This EP is fun, sharp, and thunderous, wholeheartedly bringing vivid imagery of old timey cowboy standoffs as you find yourself immersed in a wind-whipped dust bowl, baking beneath a scalding sun as you prepare for the most wicked hip fire you can muster from your rusty old revolver.

This is accomplished through a myriad of ways, the best of which are represented in what may be the best blackened hymn of the year thus far, "A Devil on Yonder Ridge". Twangy acoustics lead seamlessly into sweet sweet galloping riffwork, culminating alongside some truly fierce witchy shrieks that make up a goddamn earworm-and-a-half of a chorus. This seamless transition of twangy acoustics and more traditional, biting and raw black metal is something present throughout the entirety of this EP, rearing it's just as well off of "Orb" (albeit in a more grinding, even melancholic fashion). This can also be seen (Heard, for those of us who are not blessed with the gift of visualizing notes spilling from our earbuds) off of the first track "Farewell to the Old West", as an echoing and cathartic riff drawls on into a rather jolting and rabid riff, with snarls just as manic to match.

Really, the only unfortunate aspect of this EP is that it is brief, as of course one tends to be. It leaves behind a slight sense of unfulfillment, that there is a grander scheme to be revealed, a well of potential that has yet to empty its reserves. On the flipside this in of itself is exciting, as one is left to ponder just what the apex of this concept is. Until that moment we are left with this short lived gem, as we board our horses and blaze onward towards the west of Texas. Or downstairs to down a bag of lays whilst marathoning Breaking Bad for the umpteenth time. Whatever. Jam this.



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user ratings (10)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dedes
April 11th 2021


7659 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Howdy y'all

Also off note but the one riff on Orb kinda makes me think of Obsequiae

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
April 11th 2021


10944 Comments


Thanks for the review

Stream: https://darkwatcher.bandcamp.com/album/hymns-of-a-godless-land

"the one riff on Orb kinda makes me think of Obsequiae"

Which one?

Dedes
April 11th 2021


7659 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

2:36-2:57, shows up later at like 4:30. It's a bit of a stretch but I could envision it with some pretty synths backing it on like, Aria of Vernal Tombs

botb
April 11th 2021


14480 Comments


So... what wayfarer has been doing the last several years?

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
April 11th 2021


10944 Comments


Wayfarer last year was pretty cowboy, the one before that was barely there.

Dedes
April 11th 2021


7659 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@botb

I only heard the latest album and even then, only recently. Still you get my point, I think Dark Watcher is a really sweet part of an incredibly recent niche that has only vaguely formed. If it is even a niche yet, I'm not the expert here

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
April 12th 2021


10944 Comments


It's absolutely not a well-developed niche, but there's a few bands exploring it. Wayfarer started doing it, Volahn have a couple tracks, Vital Spirit just showed up with an EP, Untamed Lands are ok, gravetrails are pretty good.

Cobalt have big western vibes on their last record, but not really in a black metal framework.

Dedes
April 12th 2021


7659 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd argue even Gin had it's fair share of country influence but it was pretty subtly integrated. The rest of those bands I've yet to jam but ive heard Vital Spirit is p dope

Kompys2000
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2021


5828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yesss just saw this got a review, gonna check tomorrow for sure.



Western-influenced bm might just be a combo I didn't know I needed until I experienced it

garas
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2021


5974 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Hell yes a good review! I mean, yeeeeehaw!

"Orb" still rules.

Digging: Impaled Nazarene - Eight Headed Serpent

Dedes
April 12th 2021


7659 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ay thanks my dude, still jamming this man, it whips.

Also got me on Wayfarer as well which is soooooo sweet

Kompys2000
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2021


5828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was p good but it didn't quite deliver the cowboy vibes like I was hoping it would



I guess I still like my black metal like I like my coffee: with enough other stuff mixed in that I can convince myself it's something else

TheSpirit
April 13th 2021


27625 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice review Dedes, you beat me to the punch here.



I really love this release, I've listened to it quite a bit since it came out. For me, the cowboyishness doesn't so much present itself in the melodies as much as the overarching, cinematic feel as a whole. Obvs, there are some more melodic nods to it, but that's just how i feel.

Digging: Gonemage - Mystical Extraction

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
April 13th 2021


10944 Comments


I really wanted to have more clean guitars originally, but it didn't really work out. Next one's gonna be a full length though so should be room for all that and more.

Hawks
May 6th 2021


74145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gonna jam this ahrd tonight.

Digging: Dvne - Etemen ∆nka



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