As if I hadn't been swamped enough trying to get out all of the reviews for the amazing April 8th roster, here comes another email that very day unleashing Icelandic masters Zhrine. Unortheta had to take the back-burner for a week while I caught my breath, but damn did I ever want to get this one out to the public as soon as possible. I fear the day that this atmospheric death metal subgenre becomes as bloated with bands as melodeath, but as long as they keep bringing the quality I'm more than happy to let another one join the brawl.
This is metal crafted perfectly for fans of Malthusian, Abyssal, Ulcerate, and the like. Grind the sounds of those bands together into a fine paste and I swear it will gain sentience and flay you alive. It's a vacuous mixture of dark and dread-inducing post-metal with only the most devious of death metal. Guitars layer an increasingly dense atmsphere of haunting picking over an echoing expanse of palpable emptiness. Certain aspects of the music reminded me of Akhlys' The Dreaming I, only the black metal screeches have been replaces with vile death growls resounding from hell itself.
This is where I recommend tracks, right? How about all of them. I suppose I am particularly fond of the unsettling hooks on "Spewing Gloom" and "The Syringe Dance," but you can really take your pick. Better yet, just clear your schedule for a solid 40 minutes of slow-but-powerful soul-suckery. The black and white image on the cover does a pretty good job of summarizing the sound, though I picture a circle of necromancers in dark hoods slowly sapping my energy from the shadows. The soft and enticing introduction to "Utopian Warfare" may lead you to believe you are embarking on some journey of hope, but by then it will already be too late.
Yes, yes, yes. Listen to this album. Buy this album. Make sweet little goblin babies this album. It's well worth the small pricetag on bandcamp and I find the length of both the songs and the LP as a whole to be just perfection. Everything here is just right, from the vast sound of the production to the instrumentation itself. Zhrine hit the perfect balance of emotion, evil, and energy in every bass hit and every striking of a string. Could we expect less from Season of Mist? Never. Keep 'em coming.