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Album Reviews : Internal Harvest – Ethereal Struggle

By on January 6, 2013

355324Drowning in the Sea of Despair and Exit Signs, the previous two Internal Harvest full lengths, were interesting releases. Both had some fantastic moments, but as a whole were a bit awkward, with the varying aspects of their sound just not really clicking together. And the harsh mixes didn’t help. Ethereal Struggle on the other hand flows beautifully from beginning to end.

The doom elements and more depressive vibe of the past is gone, while the post-rock side of things is pushed to the forefront. People might write this off as jumping on the whole post-black metal bandwagon, but it’s hardly the case; Ethereal Struggle isn’t a complete departure from their roots, but more of a refinement.

After the very beautiful piano track “Prelude”, the changes in their sound are instantly present with “Abysmal Sea”, showing some very clear Alcest influences both musically, and to a lesser extent, vocally. It’s what whole laid-back, almost summery side of black metal, with a lot of clean guitars. However tracks like “Flaming Heart” and “Swansong” contrast it alongside huge, distorted guitars reminiscent of the extremes of Caïna.

One aspect that could be a make or break for any listener here is Nick Magur’s (who you may know as the current Adamus Exul frontman) vocals. There’s quite a variety of both harsh and clean vocals, and as is so often the case, it means that some moments are stronger than others. But at the same time, it’s hard to imagine the overall sound being as interesting without Magur pushing himself to all sorts of different areas. If you want to see a vocalist truly putting in every inch of effort possible, an Internal Harvest live show is where you’ll want to be. He sounds seriously pained at times, in a good way (for the listener, at least).

Ethereal Struggle is a superb album, and one that may even cater to those who find the whole blackgaze/post-black metal/whatever thing is usually too floaty. And if the leap from 2011’s Exit Signs to this is anything to go by, their next album is going to be a stunner.

Band: Internal Harvest
Album: Ethereal Struggle
Year: 2012
Genre: Atmospheric/post-black metal
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne, Australia

Track list:
1. Prelude
2. Abysmal Sea
3. Butterfly
4. Flaming Heart
5. What Could Have Been…
6. Swansong
7. Longing


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.