With the End in Mind – Unraveling; Arising (Review)

With the End in MindWith the End in Mind is a one man black metal band from the US. This is his debut album.

Here we have 55 minutes of expressive, expansive Cascadian atmospheric black metal. Well, this is something quite special. First seeing the light of day in 2016, it’s now getting a new lease of life via Temple of Torturous Records.

Although the obvious starting reference point for a band like this is Wolves in the Throne Room, With the End in Mind’s music has its own distinct personality. Similar, but different, fans of the aforementioned band should still find a lot to like on Unraveling; Arising.

This is an album of layers. The songs are rich and multifaceted, combining atavistic fury with splendorous majesty, with a wide range of detours in between. The cold grim heart of black metal is alive and well in the music, but this has been thoughtfully expanded upon with thick atmosphere, melodic resplendence, psychedelic intricacy, and well-considered post-black metal enhancements.

This project’s music is very emotive and extremely effective. Drawing on powerful primal blackened energies, these are channelled through a love and respect for the natural world, creating the aural equivalent of a densely populated landscape. It’s undeniably beautiful, yet writhes with all of the danger that comes with such an environment. Nature may be red in tooth and claw, but so is With the End in Mind.

There’s a depth of delivery and songcraft here that’s incredibly satisfying. This is a very accomplished and well-realised album, and it’s not that often you find something as comprehensively well-crafted as this is. The artist behind this band clearly knows what he’s doing. His vision has led to the creation of a veritable blackened work of atmospheric art.

The vocals are diverse and very well-performed. Primarily consisting of anguished screams, we also get some variants of these, as well as deep vocalisations and some quite affecting and haunting clean singing on occasion.

I do love this kind of atmospheric black metal, and this album does it so very well. I like the mix of introspection and raging, bloody violence that exists side by side on this release. Beauty and the beast of a sort, but it has to be said that even the harshest passages here have a beguilingly dark lustre and allure that’s not to be underestimated. Combining great delicacy with great force has rarely sounded as good as this does.

Exceptional.

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