- Atomic Death Squad release debut demo for free download
- Waiting Room release posthumous EP
- “Brutal shit from two cunts wallowing in Ballarat”
- Tim Yatras (Germ, Woods of Desolation, Grey Waters, etc) is releasing a free ambient ambient trilogy
- Battle Pope vs Jesus Christ Posse (split)
- Battle Pope/Jesus Christ Posse split up for free download
- No Anchor release “the most No Anchor of all the No Anchor records”
- Nontinuum’s new (free) EP is one of the best things you’ll hear all year
- Free Devil’s Kitchen compilation feat. King Parrot, Shellfin, Winterun and more
- Arcane and Caligula’s Horse members release superb post-rock/ambient album
Album Reviews : Encircling Sea – A Forgotten Land
Black metal is not a style that has ever interested me in the slightest. Like death metal, I feel like the vast majority of music in the genre devolves into crude parody devoid of both legitimate emotion and musical ingenuity.
Perhaps the same could be said about any style of music, but the point is I’ve never had a black metal based album blow me away. That is, before I heard Encircling Sea‘s A Forgotten Land.
Encircling Sea are Melbourne-based four-piece who play a progressive, eclectic style of black metal incorporating elements of post-metal, noise, ambiance and, surprisingly enough, folk. It’s members have previously lent their talents to the likes of Clagg, The Abandonment, In Trenches and Whitehorse among others.
The most immediate thing I note about A Forgotten Land is that it’s gorgeous production – which is surely an adjective rarely used in most black metal reviews. The mix is just so warm and lush, and with plenty of sonic depth and definition – which is no mean feat considering the extensively layering on this record.
Each song on A Forgotten Land features rich sonic texturing thanks to noise-smith David Coen, who works away adding atmospheric swells, building oscillations and subtle colouring to fit the varied moods of the album. The heavier passages are driven by the crushing bass tone of Dase Beard, while Rob Allen lends a vocal style that is thick and earthen (ed: I’ve since been corrected. There is no bass on this album, only baritone guitar).
But, for me, the real beauty of this album is the sheer versatility of the guitar sounds, which move from being oppressively heavy, to shimmering with shoegazy depth, to finally producing beautiful, delicate clean tones when the group’s brutality collapses into meditative interlude.
While the majority of this release occupies an earthy post-black metal feel, the third track “Become” manifests as a ten minute acoustic folk track – all twangy guitars, strumming and soothing violin – that somehow manages to fit perfectly within the wider context of the album.
With A Forgotten Land, Encircling Sea manage to tread the valleys between punishing heaviness, meditative calm and ethereal transcendence. This is a sonic journey filled with emotional depth and progressive instrumentation – an exceedingly ambitious concept, but flawlessly executed. Consider me blown away.
Essential for fans of Deafheaven, Year of No Light, Alcest and anyone interested in intelligent, progressive, heavy music. Do yourselves a favour and check it out.
Band: Encircling Sea
Album: A Forgotten Land
Genre: Post-metal / black metal
Label: Natural World records
Origin: Melbourne, Australia