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Album Reviews : Old Silver Key – Tales of Wandering

By on November 14, 2011

The sun is shining. It is a warm, early summer day and there is not a cloud in the sky. From out of a set of speakers perched upon an old coffee table blares the antithesis of what I have just described, a new project featuring members of Drudkh and Neige from Alcest.  Old Sliver Key’s Debut Tales of Wandering  is a cold, icy album, but it lacks the pure misanthropic darkness of Drudkh’s and Alcest’s early albums.

After a short, scene setting melodic intro, the first track “November Nights Insomnia” starts off with a throw back to the black metal origins of the band, however something is missing. The dirty, distorted crunch that Drudkh use so often on their records is gone. The gain has been turned down, and everything is lighter. While this might be a disappointment for black metal purists, this guitar tone works perfectly with Neige’s clean vocals and they lock in together to create an atmosphere and sense of nostalgia and beauty. The band alternates with ease between black metal tremolo and quieter, melodic post-rock-esque parts. However, except for a few intros, and the crawl at which the last track “About Which an Old House Dreams” ends, the changes from loud to quiet rarely involve a tempo change, and the pace of the album generally stays at a constant.

“Star Catcher”, the fifth track, is oddly up beat and in a major key, in stark contrast to the rest of the songs on the album which tend to be in a minor key. The song navigates it way through an excellent instrumental middle section, reminding the listener that metal doesn’t always have to be in a minor key, a musical idea shared by Baroness and Jesu. The next track, however, goes back to the minor key, and at this point, the album starts to feel a bit monotonous. The song (“Burnt Letters”) is still good, but the album feels as though it is starting to stagnate. A good thing, perhaps, that the next song is the last song.

“About Which an Old House Dreams” is the final track and brings things back up with some excellent riffs and an awesome melodic middle section as the guitars take a back seat and the piano and Neige’s vocals come to the forefront of the mix, bringing on an atmosphere of serenity and a sense of calm as the song slows down and the album floats to its conclusion, an one minute piano outro, that ends the album as it started, softly and, oh so quietly.

Ultimately, this album is actually pretty good, though I will admit it does not (for me) match up to Alcest’s or Drudkh’s finest works. However it is a very enjoyable melodic and atmospheric record and the guitar parts are well written and compliment each other excellently. The maturity of the song writing is outstanding, and this is definitely recommended to fans of Alcest, The Cure and Katatonia. 8/10

Band: Old Silver Key
Album: Tales of Wandering
Year: 2011
Genre: Post Black Metal
Origin: Kharkiv, Ukraine / France
Label: Season of Mist/Riot

Track list:
1.What  Once Was And Will Never Happen Again
2.November Nights Insomnia
3.Cold Spring
4.Ninteen Winters Far Away From Home
5.Star Catcher
6.Burnt Letters
7.About Which An Old House Dreams



In between a busy schedule of studying, procrastination and sleeping Duncan sometimes writes album reviews. When not pretending to know things about music, he pretends to know things about the world over at Sudden Reason.