2015’s Near Death Revelations was a hideously enjoyable release, succeeding in capturing the essence of what makes sophisticated, forward-thinking black metal so compelling and engaging.
Conscious Darkness is the band’s most refined and comprehensive distillation of the blackened essence yet, combining atmosphere, melody, harsh aggression, and avant-garde sophistication into 45 minutes of supreme blackened art. Thematically following on from Near Death Revelations, this latest album can be seen as a continuation of that release in some ways. Or at least, a part 2 of sorts. Either way, as good as that album was, I’d probably say that Conscious Darkness is actually the slightly superior of the two.
The tracks are intelligently crafted and lengthy explorations of darkness and loss. Replete with esoteric guitars that act as doorways to other worlds, the songs play with various blackened concepts and themes, only to casually consume them, incorporating them into the greater whole of the album’s body. Full of emotive content and and dynamic structuring, the long tracks unfurl on a timescale known only to themselves, developing and progressing according to their own plans over their playing time.
Like the best of albums, this one takes the listener on a journey into territories that may be familiar, but are still largely unexplored. Blaze of Perdition act as guides as you set out on this expedition, and when you return, if you return, you’d better make sure that something hasn’t come along with you for the ride back to reality.
Conscious Darkness is a layered and multifaceted slab of blackness, one that is rich in emotive material and affecting moments.
Very highly recommended.