Featuring atmospheric black metal with a nature theme and plenty of use of acoustic guitars, Ovnev’s debut album is confident and assured from the start.
Cycle of Survival is filled with mournful and bleak music that has a frosted interior and an even colder exterior. It’s harsh and unforgiving, almost like the musical equivalent of the album cover. However, like the natural environment it depicts, Cycle of Survival is not without beauty, which mainly shines through in the leads and melodies that accompany the grim distortion and dark screams.
Feelings of despondency and despair abound on this release, but this isn’t depressive black metal, nor is it totally without hope or colour. I like how the songs are not so much filled with negativity, but rather have emotive content that just tends to veer into the darker side of things as the project explores themes of the natural environment, of being lost in the wilderness and fighting for survival, and everything that might entail.
The songs have a sprawling, Cascadian feel to them, and work well to create and sustain atmosphere throughout the 43 minute playing time. The frequent acoustic parts are very well performed and work nicely with, say, a lonesome electric solo as an accompaniment.
The overall sound is an underground, raw one, with enough strength to allow the songs a certain amount of power, and enough icy fragility to allow the emotive blackened side of the band to be unfettered.
As far as atmospheric black metal goes this is a release that’s well-received by yours truly. It succeeds in achieving what it sets out to and I’ll be listening to and exploring Cycle of Survival’s underground blackened atmospheres for some time to come.