Olhava – Frozen Bloom (Review)

Olhava - Frozen BloomOlhava are a Russian black metal band and this is their fourth album.

Frozen Bloom is a 59-minute exploration of loss and mournful intensity. The band’s post-blackened brew is concocted from the bones of atmospheric black metal, blackgaze’s warmth of emotion, dark ambience, and synth-driven drone.

The Queen of Fields and Frozen Bloom I are furious expressions of highly atmospheric blackened intensity. Frozen Bloom I is the more dynamic and varied of the two, although the overwhelming storm of The Queen of Fields is probably the my favourite. The songs are both rich in emotive density, layering a tapestry of negative feelings atop each other to build music that has rich depth and substance of character. Repetitive to the point of becoming deeply hypnotic, these are immersive songs that are easy to become absorbed by. The two tracks work as cinematic pieces that rage against the dying of the light with post-black resplendence and transcendental force. With high-pitched, near-static screams that are so low in the mix that they’re just another layer in the music’s massive soundscapes, these songs will be with you for some time.

Adrift and Frozen Bloom II are ambient pieces enhanced by soft acoustic guitars and introspective beauty. Adrift expertly provides breathing space between the two larger slices of black metal, but boasts enough compositional skill and deft delivery to be more than worth experiencing in its own right. It’s a gorgeous work that benefits from all of its components, but I especially like the fact that the band chose to include delicate percussion in it. The same can be said of Frozen Bloom II, which closes the album. It’s a less variegated piece than Adrift, one that washes everything away with grand sweeps of epic synths and tasteful percussive elements.

Frozen Bloom offers the listener a journey through harsh winters and times of cold loss. Emerging the other side of this, stronger and with a greater knowledge of oneself, you’re soon plucking up the courage to delve back into Olhava’s world once again.

The rich cold will be waiting for you once you return.

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