|Atmospheric Black Metal, Ambient
July 24th, 2013 (Digital) / October 7th, 2014
Release length: 1:06:48
Before even talking about the songs themselves, there is one major hang up with this release that needs to be addressed, which is how the atmospheric elements are incorporated. This is not a release that ly relies on mood or emotion within the music to set them up, but rather chunks of unrelated sound clips and ambience, often eating up a good chunk of the song length with little in the lines of a good transition beyond fading out faster than it should. It gets to the point where Blastem can sound like two completely different albums slapped together to make one hour long experience. Yes, you could argue about how this concept worked out for Sweden’s Diabolical Masquerade with their Death’s Design album, but that had better structuring and the story in place by member Blakkheim that the recording was meant to be a soundtrack to a Horror film. This put a conceptual spin on it, validating an experimentation on intertwining ambient scores within segments of Black Metal songs, leaving Blestem overall to sound remarkably lazy in execution a good amount of time.
The biggest perpetrators of this is “Desertaciune” and “Mormant”. “Desertaciune” is a creepy piece of analog synth effects and eerie keyboards that play over a decent amount of static, setting up a dark, almost satanic seventies to eighties Horror film score that is genuinely chilling, though a bit drawn out by the three minute mark. And then there’s the actual performance on “Mormant” and it’s over a minute and a half long introduction of desolation thanks to soft, simple guitar notes played in a haunting manner, essentially making all of “Desertaciune” pointless as it eventually plunges into some ominous Black Metal with a minimalistic attitude to the stringed instruments. Meanwhile there’s a heavy focus on machine gun speed bass kicks and decent patterns from the drum kit to make a punishing two minutes of actual instrument playing before what sounds like an actual audio clip that is just there, offering nothing to the performance whatsoever other than a tick of what sounds like a clock that gradually speeds up, as well as to pad the length out before the depressingly slow paced music kicks back in, eventually building to a mid-tempo pace with riffs as infectious as they are ominous.
“Dorinta” is another track with an extensive atmospheric introduction that would perfectly suit a film score with the burdening hum in the distance that carries on in the form of matching guitar chords. The tone shifts from slightly inspiring to downright miserable, but never really treads away from having a fairly epic touch to the simpler material handled in a tighter execution than the aforementioned “Mormant”. Even the break just past five minutes in feels like a natural shift back to the ambience that started the song off, though not the same exact thing as before. But, if anything, it’s the song “Intuneric” that gets it right on so many levels. Haunting rasps as if lost in non-existent wind, glimmering effects in the background that are simply haunting, as well as act as the superb contrast to the steady infectious medium speed minimalistic Black Metal that seems to just drone on up to the five minute mark. At this point the music succumbs to held guitar notes and distant voices, all moving at a Funeral Doom Metal pace that is incredibly unnerving.
Blestem does have its share of atmospheric chunks scattered about that destroy the flow of a song more times than they do benefit it, or just seem to sit there as nothing but filler. Sadly, those segments aren’t even handled too well in execution, and when you’re talking an album that is over an hour long, it really becomes detrimental to the final product. But, that’s not to say everything about this release is bad. The performances themselves are usually solid, and the minimalistic, often droning approach rarely feels weak or unable to convey the proper mood. With a little restraint in the ambience, not to mention some of the track lengths, the next Colosus album could be a fairly impressive immersion in the Atmospheric Black Metal genre by one of the United Kingdom’s most active drummers. As for Blestem, this really will rely more on personal taste and how you feel about the way these two realms are put together into one release. Given that [at the time of this review] you can still stream this album through the Kaotoxin Records Bandcamp store, you have the chance to sample it for yourself and see what you happen to take out of it.
01. Desertaciune – 4:00
02. Mormant – 13:09
03. Intuneric – 9:56
04. Blestem – 4:27
05. Dorinta – 8:05
06. La Apus – 9:50
07. Red Snow – 9:27
08. Pyustiu – 7:55
|Initial Pressing Score: 6/10
via Clawhammer PR.