Review Summary: Black metal which is so punk, so epic, and so "feel good" at once.
One of the most interesting things to note about the Nashville’s black metal duo’s output is the theme of their project: Japanese horror folklore
. Also, there is one more thing which must be highlighted at the beginning: the fact how amazingly good riff-crafters they are! The latter info might be a bit less surprising for those who know that a “half of” Saidan equals to Vampirska, an excellent melodic USBM solo band, also the band’s other half comes from the heavy riffer metalcore band, Of Serpents. This teamwork turned out to be quite fruitful, since Onryō II: Her Spirit Eternal
is already the second full-length in the band’s quite young (circa two years old) discography, and in my opinion they’ve already had some level ups in terms of quality.
Saidan’s latest has a very in medias res start, and ensures the listener’s urge to listen through the entire album right in the first minutes. Precisely, the overwhelmingly majestic riff orcane first track, ”Kissed by Lunar’s Silvery Gleam”
opens the album - and it comes with an absolute earworm solo too! Onryō II...
runs on very fast, overly melodic riffs (with a really punkish edge) submerged into a mystical, but strangely “feel good” atmosphere - interestingly, synths play only a minor role in the atmosphere-building here. On the “feel good” part I mean how strangely uplifting the album is (lots of major chord melodies here), but Onryō II...
doesn’t rely on that much on utilizing the usual blackgaze toolset to become catchier and more “blissful”. Instead: blending more punk into the soundscape was the key, …and it actually works! The album slows down only at its acoustic interlude track, ”Kate”
, which brings some clean vocals and gentleness into the general soundscape. It was a very logical decision, since leaving a two minutes long rest had a really positive effect on the listening experience, in my opinion. The good production also had a good impact on the general flow, the guitars are loud, the drums, vocals and the additional synths are more in the background, so technically they went for the “just let it riff, man”
motto, which perfectly suits this style.
Have you ever wondered about how a Windir / Ghost Bath / (modern era)...and Oceans crossover band would sound? Probably not, but you also probably don’t know how much you need such a band in your life! Any fans of melodic black metal won’t be disappointed by this release, and I believe the future is bright for this talented duo.