Devouring Star – The Arteries of Heresy
Finland’s Devouring Star plays with evil as theme but does so in less Satanic ways and rather explains that mankind itself is the ultimate embodiment of sin, that humans are the scourge and that religion is not the hopeful tenet that we have been led to believe.
The Arteries of Heresy is Devouring Star’s second full length and the person behind it all, JL, is using the band as a vessel of deliverance for personal enlightenment. There’s a sense that the evil that lurks within is one of primal matter and on “Procreation of Blood” the chaos is laid bare for all to see. Within the maelstrom are subtle grooves that can be latched on to in order to orientate oneself but for the most part the song, and the album as a whole, is an ode to embracing sin and taking it into yourself in order to fulfil your purpose on this earth.
The Arteries of Heresy is a defiant record and within its walls are moments of pure meditation on the higher power which we serve. “Scar Inscriptions” wraps delirious guitars around rich and furious drums while the voice is a void that incantations pour from, summoning primal energies and speaking of losing oneself to the abyss. Devouring Star does not take these themes lightly and there’s a definite sense that JL has had many experiences from which he has drawn his inspiration. Communicating with the otherworld is something that is important and it’s through The Arteries of Heresy that this becomes possible.
“Her Divine Arteries” rolls in gorgeous drums and pulsing guitars before a layered and echoing voice reaches from the shadows. The track moves slowly at first, drawing you into a small moment of hypnotic calm but rage is never far away and soon Devouring Star embraces you in its own personal vision of hell. Hope is eradicated. Sin is sovereign.
Listen and pre-order here.
Remete – The Winter Silence
Woods of Desolation is one of Australia’s finest black metal exports and D. (the main person behind the band) has several other projects running alongside it to complement the themes found in Woods… but also to take different paths through a genre that has many twists and turns. Forest Mysticism leans towards folk elements, Unfelled goes down a raw production route and Remete traverses atmospheric black metal within its four bittersweet songs.
The Winter Silence begins on the gorgeous strains of “I” and the melancholy atmosphere encloses you completely before the song fires to life on furious drums and restrained synth lines that lie in the background and give structure to proceedings. D.’s voice is deep and anguished, pushing through the shadows and trying to gain a foothold in the chaos that builds around it. When the drums finally fall back, the richness of his voice begins to push through the darkness but never gains the dominance that is sought; perhaps an artistic choice that only serves to perpetuate the isolation and loneliness felt by its creator and a theme that many who listen to black metal will know all too well.
“II” is a straightforward acoustic piece that leads into the devastating passages of “III” and a whole host of heartbreaking emotions follow. Tending towards the feel of Woods of Desolation’s As The Stars at times (by no means a bad thing, that record is wonderful), the pace is slowed down initially and the doomed core is revealed in D.’s guttural vocals. As the track moves towards the inevitable end the drums pick up a subtle groove and the song moves into ever soaring territory before “IV” takes us back into the darkness. This final track is pure emotion and features a guitar solo so steeped in abject sorrow that finding the light will become nigh on impossible.
Listen and buy here.
Windfaerer – Alma
On Windfaerer’s third full length band founder Michael Gonçalves uses his ancestral ties to the Iberian Peninsula to inform the folk elements of his music and the band utilises Ben Karas’ often frenetic electric violin to play with energetic themes and anger. Joined by a full band for the first time in composing and performing the album, Gonçalves is free to lay his aggressive voice over the striding black metal that is found on Alma while Karas has free rein with his violin which is used to great affect throughout.
Alma sounds absolutely sure of itself and the progression of the band from their debut to now is one that has evolved organically, nothing feels forced and this is a band in full control. Windfaerer are a band who have learned and grown with each release and Alma is their most assured and well-rounded to date. The violin elements don’t clash with the other instruments and the structures are handled with deft precision. “Journey” is beautiful in its rage with Karas’ laying affecting strings over guitars that are laden with tension while Gonçalves’ voice is a deep and commanding presence. Beginning on gentle tones the album soon reaches into the past and comes back with power and aggression melded with myths of the homeland.
“O Alem” is an inhalation of breath, a calm before the storm, and is a much needed moment of quietude in a record that is often furious in its desire to seek the truth. Alma is a record of intensity and the themes of seeking home and finding knowledge in the past seeps into every crevice of the music. Gonçalves uses his band to give order amongst the chaos and on final track “Under the Sign of Sol” we hear that passion clearly. It’s a fast-paced journey to the outer reaches and one that will allow its creator to find hope in the darkness.
Listen and buy here.