Decline of the I – Johannes (Review)

Decline of the I - JohannesThis is the fourth album from French post-black metallers Decline of the I.

After enjoying 2015’s Rebellion and 2018’s Escape, when Johannes appeared I knew I had to sample its dark wares. Armed with a new lineup formed around the band’s core artist, Johannes is a 51-minute journey into thoughtful mood-driven darkness.

These new songs are layered explorations of post-blackened detail and nuanced soundscapes. The music is multifaceted and textured, drawing in a range of influences to build on the band’s black metal foundations. The five songs on Johannes are each masters of their own creation, while still fitting into the whole, and provide the listener with a creative and rich landscape to explore.

Each song boasts a lot of content, with a wealth of good ideas and enriching sounds ably showcased by the band. There’s an epic streak to Decline of the I’s music, more apparent than ever in their latest work. Sometimes it’s hidden in plain sight, while at others it ascends to malevolent prominence. Either way, a certain amount of majestic grandeur is ever-present in the music, and it works very well indeed.

The band’s ability to blend sharp aggression with menacing atmosphere is very effective. I really like the use of guitars on this release. Some of of the riffs and blackened rhythms feel like they cut to the core, and combined with the skilful and inventive use of melodies, contribute to the thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying musical experience that these five songs offer. Lighter moments appear, balancing the blackened heaviness of the distorted sections. Existing somewhere between post-rock, jazz, and experimental atmospheric ambient minimalism, these parts may not be too common, but they add value to the songs.

Piercing screams are joined by darker growls and choral accents. The singers all do a great job, and, like the music, the vocals are very accomplished.

Despite how much I enjoyed both Rebellion and Escape, I think that Johannes is probably Decline of the I’s richest, most complete and well-realised work to date.

Very highly recommended.

Midnight Odyssey – Biolume Part 2 – The Golden Orb (Review)

Midnight Odyssey - Biolume Part 1 - The Golden OrbThis is the sixth album from Australian one-man black metal act Midnight Odyssey.

The second part in a trilogy, (the first part being 2019’s exceptional Biolume Part 1 – In Tartarean Chains), Biolume Part 2 – The Golden Orb contains a massive 102 minutes of material.

On his latest Continue reading “Midnight Odyssey – Biolume Part 2 – The Golden Orb (Review)”

The Lylat Continuum – Ephemeral (Review)

The Lylat Continuum - EphemeralThe Lylat Continuum are a progressive death metal band from the US and this is their debut album.

Ephemeral is a 56-minute trip into progressive death metal waters, although the death metal influences are not always prominently displayed; the band’s modern progressive metal influences are Continue reading “The Lylat Continuum – Ephemeral (Review)”

The Ruins of Beverast – The Thule Grimoires (Review)

The Ruins of Beverast - The Thule GrimoiresThis is the sixth album from one-man German black/doom metal metal band The Ruins of Beverast.

The Ruins of Beverast’s music is an intriguing and exotic combination of atmospheric black and doom metal. Okay, so what’s so exotic about it, you might ask? Well, it’s the artist’s sublime ability to combine lesser-heard influences, (an occasional touch of Continue reading “The Ruins of Beverast – The Thule Grimoires (Review)”

Paul Sadler – Soon to Be Absorbed (Review)

Paul Sadler - Soon to Be AbsorbedThis is the debut solo album from UK progressive rock artist Paul Sadler.

Paul Sadler is apparently the vocalist/guitarist of UK progressive metallers Spires; unfortunately I’m unfamiliar with this band, so I can’t comment on how similar Paul’s material is to his main outfit. What I can comment on, however, Continue reading “Paul Sadler – Soon to Be Absorbed (Review)”

Gjoad – Samanōn (Review)

Gjoad - SamanōnGjoad are an Austrian post-rock band and this is their debut album.

This is nature-inspired music that’s highly evocative and atmospheric. Shades of post-rock, ambient, doom, and folk inform the bulk of the material here. There’s a clear black metal influence too, although this is mostly apparent Continue reading “Gjoad – Samanōn (Review)”

Shaidar Logoth – Chapter III: The Void God (Review)

Shaidar Logoth - Chapter III The Void GodThis is the third album from Shaidar Logoth, a black metal band from the US.

Here we have 48 minutes of atmospheric black metal, a mixture of the beautiful and the harsh. Although you may think that these two things oppose each other, Shaidar Logoth ably show that this does not have to be the case. Parts of Continue reading “Shaidar Logoth – Chapter III: The Void God (Review)”

Arstidir Lifsins – Saga á tvei m tungum II: Eigi fj ǫ ll né firðir (Review)

Arstidir Lifsins - Saga IIArstidir Lifsins are an international, (Germany/Iceland), black metal band, and this is their fifth album.

Here we have 74 minutes of pagan black metal, incorporating elements of the atmospheric, folk, and ambient styles. Continue reading “Arstidir Lifsins – Saga á tvei m tungum II: Eigi fj ǫ ll né firðir (Review)”