Siberian post-black metal act Ultar is here with the release of their debut album under this moniker, Kadath. The band has previously released an EP and full length under the name, Deafknife, having originally formed in Formed in 2011 in Krasnoyars. Kadath's material was inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft and mastered by Mell Dettmer (Sunn O))), Fyrnask, Below The Sun). This is highly atmospheric and melodic black metal in the vein of Deafheaven, Ghost Bath, and Wolves in the Throne Room.
We throw the word "atmosphere" around a lot, but Ultar have made a fuller investment than most. In addition to the usual reverb-washed-madolins guitar tremolo sound and cascading walls of blissful catharsis, Kadath occasionally goes pure aesthetic as on the ambient nature sounds of "Shores of the Sleeping Seas." This track midway though is an excellent focal point that helps further ground what the band seems to be driving home over the course of the album. The entire concept seems to flow outward from it, as exemplified in how perfectly it sets up the explosive emotional torrent of "Xasthur."
This and "Nyarlathotep" are my personal favorites from Kadath, though the 15+ minutes of the title track don't slouch as an epic closer either. The opening riff and raw blastbeats on the latter, once again nicely set up by the dynamic shift of "The Ancient Ones," is truly a flash flood of rage, sorrow, and ambition all at once. It provokes the listener to so much imagery; from flying free into the into the sunset, to sinking into the deepest depths of the ocean.
Really, the entire album is an emotional rollercoaster. There are plenty of bands playing this style these days, but only a few reach this level of perfection. Along with groups like Numenorean, Kadath seem to hold the secret formula to post-black that doesn't come off as pretentious or boring. Key strategies seem to include their command of overall album composition, seemless shifts in style and volume, and above all a sense of wonder along with the courage to express this openly. Kadath bares its soul to the public tomorrow. Check it out.