Haze of Summer – Stuzha (Review)

Haze of Summer - StuzhaThis is the second album from Russian post-black metal band Haze of Summer.

I enjoyed 2017’s Znoi, and on the band’s new release we get a further 33 minutes of melodic post-black metal. The album follows on from Znoi, even down to the tracklisting, which picks up where the last one left off.

It’s not just business as usual, however, as the incorporation of additional instruments, sounds, and musicians is even more ambitious this time. Accordion, violin, balalaika, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, and cello are all used on the album, as are the core instruments and effective synths.

A folk influence can be felt on this album, much more than the first. This is in part down to the use of the above instruments, and in part down to some of the melodies used. The feeling of listening to a variant of a blackgaze band has been dialled down, (although the influence is still felt), and instead there’s more of a melodic black/death metal feel, particularly with reference to the more popular side of the European metal scene. Imagine a mix of Deafheaven, Korpiklaani, and (old) In Flames, and you’ll be on the right track, at least loosely.

Interesting and energetic, there are plenty of good ideas to be found on this release. It’s populated by a variety of guitar leads and satisfying drum beats, and I particularly like some of the guitar solos that make appearances too. The extra instruments are used well, and add value without ever detracting from the songs.

Building on the strengths of their first album, and then expanding their scope rather impressively, Haze of Summer’s second album is bigger, bolder, and better than before.

Highly recommended.

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