Clad In Darkness - Amidst Her Shadows (EP) - 5/5
Let me start this off by saying that I am not a fan of either black metal in general. That being said, this is one of the most powerful pieces I've heard, and I hope they make much, much more.
This band plays a combo of Black and melodic metal. The black is easily identified by the trademarked sound. Fast drums, tremolo riffs, and shrieked vocals are all done well, if not spectacularly. The parts that really make this album are the melodic bits. These remind me of those acoustic intros and interludes that litter the thrash scene. The real difference is that those intros are used for building suspense or excitement, or to bring a song down from its climax. Here the are used as the suspense, the climax, the excitement, and they are done well! The funny thing is that the black metal is rendered so weak in comparison that it is seemingly reduced to intros and interludes.
Forgive the track by track analysis, but:
“Foreword” is a bit of a misnomer here as there is no preamble. Straight off, we plunge into the coldest hell of the Norway. A strong scream and some serious black metal paint the early picture, but as a welcome surprise, there are hints of melody already. The big change comes around 1:45 when the first acoustic spotlight is shown. From there the track trades between black and those special guitar performances every 45 seconds or so. Spectacular and gracefully done.
“Reveries and Silence” I almost mistook this track as an instrumental, and it’s has enough depth and variety to pass for one. Really has to be heard, but with a diverse style of guitar, and a full-blown drum and bass solo, it well worth the listen. Tied with the closing track for my personal favorite.
“Anamnesis” is a short and to the point piece. Think of it like a metal sandwich with black bread, melodic spotlight as the meat, and a peculiar little thrashy riff as the topping. The special little riff really takes what might be seen as a throwaway track and makes the song superb and unforgettable. An example of these guy’s songwriting prowess.
“Amidst Her” This track stands out as the one where the vocals are most decipherable. They continue to be harsh, but with enough variance to showcase the vocalist. It also bears saying that this album’s relative shortness might actually help this mini-album as a whole, for it was part way through this track that the first urges of boredom struck. That is certainly not a strike against this song, just a note on my poor attention span. Just one more reason that you should pick up this EP.
In closing, if anyone reading this has a record label, I have to ask you to sign this band immediately. For anyone else, just give this a listen. It will be well worth your time.
By C. J. Ulferts