14 Jun 2021 - Thorsten
Blackened-Gothic-Metal | Eisenwald | Release date: 28 May 2021
Anyone still remember how “Mama Said” f***** up Metallica and metal in general? Dividing the metal-community even harsher into the truvists and the innovators? Well, guess what – The Flight Of Sleipnir are innovators but do not care about innovation!
The genre-defying quartet from Colorado, formed in 2007, has been highly productive with Eventide (an old archaic word for “evening”) being their seventh full-length not counting some minor releases like splits, compilations and singles. And what is the connection in such a vast oeuvre? Maybe the will to go beyond. Beyond expectations, earlier achievements or attributed hopes. And for them this is not even one of those “oh we don’t care what you expect us to do”-stereotypes. They care about their music, their art and the development and evolution of it. But at the same time, there are certain things that they keep, like the tasty artwork always delivered by drummer David Csicsely; on Eventide he gave us a beautiful art-deco combination of bird, wooden roots, stars, some metallic runes and the moon, all done in a wonderfully-nuanced grey on warm black background. Another constant is the line-up itself, there are no “former” members of the band, it’s always been the same line-up!
The deep dive into complexity and progressive-ness starts with “Voland”and The Flight Of Sleipnir, who named themselves after Odin’s legendary eight-legged horse which could glide of earth, water and sky, show quite easily after two minutes of good Black Metal how open they are compiling their music with about 40 seconds of wonderful, open chords and licks that are somewhat reminding of bluesy yet jazzy triplets. And even if these open structures do not return for the rest of the song, it becomes clear that we should not expect standard Black Metal. Very open they use some ambient or post-rocky structures without really drifting into Blackgaze or Atmospheric Black Metal; their arpeggios are much too strong for that.
Nevertheless, the band is at their best, when they take the best things from other genres and incorporate all of that into a well-balanced mix; take the field recordings combined with the prog-rock-trained outro of ”January” or the bluesy solo in ”Bathe The Stone In Blood”. Generally, the latter track and the following ”Harvest” showing strong influences of twangy country – not the poppy stuff by Blake Shelton or so, but rather the close to Americana-version of guys like Townes van Zandt. They are able to combine it with some nice simplistic drumming and some near-psychedelic solo-bits just before they let the harsh reality (aka the darkness) take over again. These two tracks are also what I hinted at in the first paragraph: if there are two genres that are nearly non-combinable (in a good way), then these are country and Black-Metal, even though both share the same love for outsiders. But the way that The Flight Of Sleipnir do it on these two tracks is awesome: it all feels really in a flow and somehow remindful of a band like Osi And The Jupiter also because they are on those Black Metal bands that do not see the need in making every track sound like straight from the hurricanes of hell. Their Black Metal is one which indeed does see some grey areas and not only black and white, not only screaming and screeching but also a mental kind of attitude. It is not about going along with conventions but trying to re-imagine old standards and set new ideas into being. It must not always try to destroy every wall in front of it, but it can also find new ways around those. Or simply paint the wall with some new and inspiring colors.
Eventide is an enchanting album full of little elements that each open the song to a completely new soundscape. That is indeed a record to listen to closely for not to lose track of what is happening. You will find all elements of classic Black-Metal but also take a trip round the country looking for some new motives to create some new psychedelia. They are not Metallica dividing the community, they are the ones maybe being able to bridge the divide by showing how to bring country into metal without becoming a cheesy version of Pop Music.