Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Black Metal History Month - Morast : "Ancestral Void"

This album from the German band is a puzzling piece of darkness. I think the fact it is so dark earns it's place to be covered during Black Metal History Month. It's a form of blackened deathly  doom with  the vocals coming across like a more brutal less sung version of Chronos, so varied versions of black metal are in play, it throbs with a dark dissonance that works for me. On forlorn this comes as a steady more relentless pounding. I can see where the deliberate pace and tone of this album would appeal to fans of doom, though it's more black metal than doom despite the lack of blast beats. The more creeping mood of third third song further erasing clear cut genre lines though if you have not already been drawn into the hypnotic pulse of this album flowing along the waters of the river Styx, then you might be overthinking it. Not that over thinking it isn't the nature of what we are doing here, I just find it easier to listen to the mood of the music here rather than break it down into pieces. The vocals do have a nastier growl here and the drumming picks up into the kind of double bass that drives death metal of the more occult variety.

The bass continues to set the dismal tone on "Compulsion" . The one finds the chords ringing out with more melodic hints and the vocals having a more desperate rasp to them. It grows into a more mid-tempo creep. "Loss" falls out of the previous song and moves at an even slower pace. The guitar picks up into a more wavering black metal tremolo. The vocals also shift into a more Venom like howl. I like when the song finds it's groove as it progresses. The steady mid tempo beat to the title track gives it a sense of identity and before the guitar comes in to coat it with a creepier mood. While this might be one of the albums more powerful songs and I ca appreciate it, I am not sure as I am as engaged by the closing song as I was the opener. At it's best the song sounded like Obituary jamming with Venom.

This bands strength is the sound they have woven easily blended the three genres of doom, black metal and death metal, and finding where they perfectly intersect. What keeps this from being a contender from album of the year is it rides the throb and song then is what it is rather than seeking to explore further. Granted to some this might be a minor complaint and it really speaks more the the limitations of operating in the confines of being an extreme metal band. They do this in a pretty tasteful manner and some listeners might be blow away by it, so maybe it's my jaded ears are becoming increasingly difficult to please, but I did give the new King Woman a ten, many of you might say it's unfair to compare the two since in many ways it's apples to oranges, though they are both metal bands , I think it comes down to how far you want to push the song. Still if you wan a cool blend of the sub-genres these guys are onto something.

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