Hey, Happy Monday and Happy Last Day of January to you!
If you’ve got a few moments to spare, I’d like to share a couple albums — the first of which was released near the end of last year (and was the first solo record by a member of Italian ambient black metal band Enisum), while the second was just released at the end of last week by a single-member black metal project from Spain.
Lys – Silent Woods (Avantgarde Music, 29 October 2021)
Negativa – 04 (vinyl Mystískaos / Dissociative Visions, CD Nebular Carcoma, 28 January 2022 – US, 11 February EU)
The album Silent Woods and the quaternary of tracks it encompasses (“Like Ashes in the Wind,” “Mountains, Forests, Rivers,” “Bonfire,” plus the title track), as you may note, all include references to nature of some sort in their names. Which seems fitting, given the pastoral ambiance that runs throughout, either adjoining or complementarily abutting the harsh sounds of blackness.
One of the more remarkable aspects of the record is how swiftly and seamlessly it shifts from mellow acoustic bits to utterly vicious black metal with extremely raw vocals, and then back again. And in many cases, there will be a brief pit stop in mellow post-rock territory somewhere along the way.
The lone exception to this trend is the third of these tracks (incidentally, also the only one under eight minutes long) which is essentially all acoustic with folksy-style clean singing. This is very well-executed as well, as a momentary excursion from the otherwise relentless return to the darkness with the often doubled or even trebled layers of ultra-harsh howls.
Second on our agenda for today is Negativa‘s LP entitled 04. That it’s their third full-length seems a bit counter-intuitive, although there was previously an EP included in this particular numeric series. The minimalistic naming convention extends to the track listing as well: the seven songs here are simply numbered from XXIII through XXIX.
Dark and entrancing, these songs house a ceaseless barrage of noise: vocals like haunted shrieks and wails carried by the wind, drums and guitars beating out stacks upon stacks of rhythms and riffs piled up to dizzying heights. Like huge, crashing ocean waves or more accurately like the whipping wind in a sub-zero winter storm, so cold and harsh no matter how many protective layers you wear it cuts through, biting and scathing.
Silent Woods is available digitally here (US), or on CD/vinyl here (IT). Negativa‘s 04 can be found digitally or on vinyl here (US); for EU listeners you may also pre-order the vinyl at the same place.
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