Spectre

Video: Music Review 003 – Arx Atrata – Spiritus in Terra

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Here is a new video review for the excellent album Spiritus in Terra by England’s Arx Atrata. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on YouTube.

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Music Review: Noire – Dark Reverence

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Noire - Dark Reverence

Genre: Progressive Black Metal
Label: Independent (Now signed to Deathbound Records)

Filled to the brim with Canadian permafrost, these Winnipeg natives have laid down an epic album of cold black metal that not only hearkens to the sounds of the Norwegian (Enslaved, Immortal) and Swedish (Opeth) scenes, but also to Canada’s own.

The album starts off with the instrumental “Lost and Godless”, then delves into four long tracks full of melancholic lyrical hymns to darkness, death, and nature. Black metal tropes, yes; cliche as fuck, yes; written wonderfully and giving these old chestnuts new life, a resounding yes.

“Shadows Rise” clocks in at nearly ten minutes and is the second longest song on Dark Reverence. It travels from acoustic melodies to a blackened kick to the face, and features Andrew using his voice much like Jeff Walker in Carcass’ song “Heartwork”.

“Dark Reverence” is nearly eight minutes long and has an epic feel and melodicism that would sit well on Sons of Northern Darkness, while the following track “Where Death Keeps” takes a more atmospheric and folky approach, bringing to mind the UK’s Desolate Winds, Spectre, and Winterfylleth crossed with Enslaved, Satyricon and Primordial.

“Ghosts of Damnnation” stands out with it’s slightly thrashy intro that drops into a straight up black metal with blackened thrash sections. This song never fails to get my neck snapping and fist pumping, making it dangerous to drive to.

“Pale Death” is another instrumental, and the longest on the album, rearing its head late in the disc, giving listeners a chance to regroup and prepare for the album’s shortest lyrical song.

“A Fire Shall Burn” is pretty much just a slower pure black metal song with a folk element. It sounds the most Norwegian or all the songs, I would say, and is one of my favourite songs on the album. Again though, Andrew’s vocals remind me of a blackened and slower Jeff Walker, which is a really interesting twist for me.

The final lyrical song on the album is “Faithless”, which starts off slow and pretty, like much of the songs on Dark Reverence, then kicks into a riff that reminds me of Opeth‘s “The Leper Affinity” and Immortal‘s “In My Kingdom Cold”. “Faithless” is the longest song on the album, clocking in at exactly 11:56, but not for one moment is it boring, a feat that many bands that write epic long songs fail to accomplish. Noire have honed their ability to take tempo and riff changes and place them at just the right parts in a song to keep interest in what they are doing.

The final song of the album, “My Fallen Angel” is an amazing piano piece that sounds nothing like what else has transpired on Dark Reverence, but fits in perfectly at the same time. I would honestly love to hear an extended version of this song that reaches the same type of song length as “Faithless” or “Shadows Rise”.

In all, Noire are an awesome band with an awesome album in Dark Reverence, and it is no wonder they are making a name for themselves in their home city of Winnipeg but across Canada and into the USA. They are successfully combining raw black metal with tons of melody, death metal sections, and a huge amount of feeling to create a wonderful progressive black metal that is all their own while still wearing their influences on their collective sleeves.