Here we have somewhat of a colossal album. This is 84 minutes of slow, weighty music designed to physically and mentally crush, while transporting the listener to other, bleaker realms.
This is a mix of doom, drone, post-metal and dark ambient that emphasises mood and feeling to create atmosphere and say a very lot, sometimes with only a little.
This is music to immerse yourself in and lose yourself to. The material on this release draws you out of yourself and into…some other place. Musically recalling the kind of bleak, dark landscape that graces the album cover and title, there’s still lots to explore here despite the seeming wide-expanses of nothingness that you’re surrounded by.
I feel that this album could so easily have been drumless; the songs have enough to hold the interest even without any form of percussion. However, I’m a big fan of drums, and even though Black Snow Desert would still have been a good album without them, with them it’s even better. Like much of the instrumentation on this release they’re employed a lot of the time with a distinct less-is-more mentality, and this approach works wonders for the music.
This is not to say that all of the work on this long release is slow and sparse; there’s enough variety within the band’s framework to allow for a textured approach to their soundscapes, and the songs on this album don’t suffer from a lack of creativity, ideas or musicianship. Sometimes you find yourself in a section where there’s a lot going on, where the drums are hammering out a complex rhythm and the music is suffused with a dark energy, while at others all that you have to accompany you is the sparse, soft sounds of the void. This results in the creation of cold, desolate soundscapes that are occasionally punctuated by rich oases of verdant, yet ultimately doomed, life.
There are no vocals, so the entire experience, (and it is an experience, make no mistake), of Black Snow Desert is focused purely on the moods and feelings evoked by the music alone.
So, if I had to make comparisons to other bands, where would I start? Well, I’d start by saying that Black Snow Desert is very much its own entity, but then I’d go on to say that if you’re a fan of bands like Earth, Boris, Pelican and Sunn O))) then Nonsun will have a lot to offer you.
Nonsun have created an ambitious and well-realised first release. The album is completely enthralling, and Nonsun have produced something that’s quite special.