At Dusk – Condemned (Review)

At Dusk - CondemnedAt Dusk is a one man US black metal band and this is his second album.

This one man black metal band, (a member of Nan Elmoth), has always been one I’ve enjoyed. Both 2014’s Anhedonia and 2017’s split with Sacerdos left me wanting more, which we now have in the shape of Condemned, (the title track of which is the same song that was on the split with Sacerdos).

At Dusk’s black metal has a second wave base that’s built on with depressive traits from both black and doom metal. This style is forged into longs songs that seethe with atmospheric violence and mood-driven extremity. The aggression on display here is merely a vehicle for the emotive themes being portrayed, however, rather than the endgame itself. Fusing black metal with elements of grim doom may not be a new avenue to explore, but At Dusk’s music does this seamlessly and without recourse to generic defaults.

This is a very dark and negatively charged album, full of despair and loss. This emotion seems pointed inward, almost in a penitential sort of way, seeking catharsis, but ultimately unsure if it finds it. This is an emotionally intense collection of material, with a lot to offer the listener in terms of mood, feeling, and blackened texture. At turns dramatic, depressive, aggressive, introspective, thoughtful, immersive, and funereal, the artist’s songwriting and performance on Condemned is of a sufficiently high-calibre to effectively pull off the various personal themes explored.

An impressive and highly enjoyable piece of work, Condemned is something to experience in a darkened environment as it demands and deserves your full attention.

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