28 Oct 2021 - Thorsten
Atmospheric Black Metal | Cult Of Parthenope | Release date: 15 Oct 2021
Over the course of our six months of existence, Veil of Sound has not had the opportunity to feature many bands from South America. With this new, self-titled third full-length by Chilean Black Metallers Sol Sistere this will change, as this record deserves all support and love the global community gives it! A really remarkable record that might turn some skeptics into “believers” of the combination of Blackgaze and Black Metal again!
The cover already shows where this record is going: in the middle of an apocalyptic scene with the last clouds of smoke billowing through the air, a gnarly tree formed by faceless human beings reaches up towards a bright sun radiating some kind of cold rays towards the earth. And yes, in some ways that is a good description of the record. It is very earthy, yet simultaneously reaching towards the sky but never trying to completely fill our hearts of an un-deserved, un-human and un-just abundance of joy.
The band is very good at leading the listener astray and then surprising the audience with the next part or song. For example, the intro ”The Shimmer Pt. I” starts with a blastbeat motif that sounds as if it was recorded by one single, defect microphone through a sheet of ice at least 10 feet deep. The accompanying whirlwind of guitars make for an even more common effect as one could imagine that the record is walking on trodden trails a bit too much. However, with every of the following seven tracks, the band shows what else they are capable of.
Already the second track, ”The Narrow Path” showcases a band that is able to slowly, very slowly step down from the speed pedal so that the song develops a certain reverse pull, not pulling you under something, but more likely pulling you upwards. When it then makes way for ”Ashes” one, for the first time on this record, hears a semi-acoustic clean guitar picking. The drums are marching ahead and the very good thing is, that they keep on founding the record on that guitar-picking-motif that is repeated endlessly underneath all the whirlwinds and hurricanes throwing the listener from left to right. The second-longest track on the record – behind the final chapter ”Sol Sistere” - this track goes through several tempi shifts and even completely calms down after four minutes, when even the guitar picking motif is slowly disintegrating. Of course the band picks it up again later in ”Ashes”, but these calmer moments make for a really satisfying, intense listen: when the second guitar arises from beneath the guitar-picking and hushed, whispered vocals and turns out to be some form of guitar solo without being a solo in any way. This magical twist (accentuated by a nice chunky bass-part) places the band closely to Russian masters TRNA and their latest Blackgaze masterpiece ”Istok”. That the band passes on the chance for another hurricane whirlwind in favor of keeping the shoegazey Wall of Sound is a real testament to their songwriting-skills.
And it is exactly this playfulness that makes for an exquisite listening experience, there are always little twists and turns on this record that will provide you with loads of little details to keep you connected to it. The vocals, ranging from clean shouts to infernal Black-Metal-screams (more on the doomy side than on the shrieky side) also do their best in order to purvey the image from the cover.
When a track like ”The Shimmer Pt. II” opens with a short bass-line-intro it becomes clear that the Chileans want to give you more than the average Black Metal album. And the final self-titled track with its near 10,5 minutes would not, in any kind, be misplaced on the best Wolves In The Throne Room records with its slightly dissonant guitar arpeggios, the doomy guitar picking intro, a kind of uplifting idea of Epic Black Metal while at the same time featuring some very punchy Blastbeats. If you want to hear convincing Atmospheric Black Metal from the fringes of the global scene, do not hesitate and choose this record. It is one of the best of the genre in 2021, for sure!