When it came out two years ago "Worlds Blood" was one of my favorite black metal albums. It is not play by the rules . Their newest album goes in two directions, one of them is more towards the Western sounds that was a subtle under current, the other is more traditional black metal. No one can say they made the same album twice. The chord progression are blue grass , but played as black metal. Well I do not remember much in the way of actual singing on the last album that is what we are getting here. It makes me think of what it might sound like if Nick Cave sang for Jane's Addiction. It is pretty gothy and I am of course fine with that . This is a good example of why different and not what you expected can be a pleasant surprise.
The ten minute "Masquerade of the Gunslinger"s is a great song, aside from the sung middle section it is more in line with the previous album. The sun middle part just show how they are expanding the range of colors. Things are not as black , but the shading here brings out the curves of the songs. This album is wonderfully produced it really sounds great. After an instrumental interlude, they bring both sides of their equation together for the last song that doesn't feel like it's ten minute run time due to the great dynamic interplay of the western strum, with reverbed vocals that builds into a black metal burst then ebbs back down.
It almost sounds like a different band , but it is the same line up that recorded their last album. What a difference two years can make. Their drummer is also in Blood Incantation so it is not like he has lots of time to just jam around. Pretty close to being pretty perfect, this one is going to give Tombs and Chrome Waves a fight for the top black metal album honors . I will round this up to a 10.