It is fitting to end Black Metal History Month with this band from Finland I have a lot of history with . By that I mean they are one of my favorite bands. It had been 7 years since their last album. This band from Finland had a more aggressive take on depressive black metal, so it is hard to complain about what goes down as it's so well done. My ears can not escape the fact that the first song falls neatly into the depressive black metal box, where their earlier work had more of a unhinged feral quality to it. I also don't remember synths and piano playing as big of a role as they do here. The album really needed to be played loudly in order to soak in all the layers.
The bass comes to the forefront of "Cold Numbness". The guitars kind of fall back into being guitar fuzz as the drummer pours the double bass on much thicker. I am not sure why it feels like the guitars are taking a back seat here, perhaps it's wrestling with the massive drum sound in the mix. They have not forsaken their black metal side. The groove to "Hallow" wins me over in the song's first few seconds. The guitars come up in the mix. The vocals are screamed just as manically as ever. I'll have to go back and listen to the first two albums again, but it sounds like the drummer is stepping it up in terms of a more nuanced performance. The vocals finally capture the kind of anger they use to on this song as well.
The first couple minutes of "Black Infinity" finds them riding a cloud of atmosphere before blasting back into it. The vocals trade off between the higher shriek and a lower growl. The ride the deafening pulse out til just a little past the last three minutes ebb back down again and build it back up into another dramatic blast. The last song finds them going from a more introspective tone that gets jams out into something closer to post-rock than what we have heard from these guys before. It builds from there though they hold back from getting really crushing until the last minute which shows a lot of maturity on their part. In fact maturity is one of this album's characteristics. Gone are the rock god solos, but everything is still well played and there is no doubt they are excellent musicians who have grown up to serve the song. I'll around this album up to a 10. Finds them a little more mellowed with time, but with a wider depth of emotion.