The Howling Wind – Into the Cryosphere – 4/5
Ryan Lipynsky – also known as “Killusion” is something of an asshole. He seems to have torn people apart, half calling him a genius and the others calling him a pretentious wanker. Apart from the drummer this is a one man band with him performing and writing all the music, and far from being horrendously tinny and completely absent of bass, the production on it is actually quite palletable, I mean, how dare he soil the good name of Black Metal? And to add insult to injury this music is heavily tainted with experimentalism, combining a sludgy doom-esque tone with an almost 'tech death' level of chaos to its tempo changes, varying from the slow to the not quite so slow. But you know what really grates me? More than anything else, he has interrupted my epic music-review comeback (which is still being written) and dominated my listening time to the point that it's already time to write my thoughts.
The bass is largely complementary to the rest of the sound, providing ample atmosphere to his despair-laden and morbid creation, working subtly in the background. The vocals too are largely overshadowed by the instrumentation, faintly heard howling like an elegant but powerful wind sweeping across the horizon, always heard but rarely distinguishable though the chaos. Instead, most of the draw comes from the highly distorted guitars; they're raw and aggressive, varying between the simplistic tremolo lines to the quicker paced thick and somehow darkly addictive lines. Often layered atop one another, the production remains impressively capable of distinguishing between the lines and lending an odd crisp feel to the otherwise inherently raw tone they take. The drumming provides no slack either, facilitating the change in tempo with a wide array of fills to break up the passages into bitesize chunks.
Impressively for a such a small two-man project it lends a large sound filled with multiple layers all capable of crashing down around you, each layer with its own part to play in creating the cavernous and chaotic darkness that envelops you for its short run time. The ability for sludge to create a thick tone, grinding down in such a way to aptly fit its moniker of “working-mans-metal” is used to good effect here whilst never entirely losing that blackened sense of despair. It is, however, a trade off; you cannot use sludge elements without losing much of that icy and frostbitten tone, but with such an abundance of basement black metal bands pretending to be necro I can't say its interesting to hear things done differently. Whether you still think he's a bit of a wanker or not – he is from New York, so its certainly a plausible theory – that doesn't prevent his music from being pretty darn good.
Highlights: The Seething Wrath of a Frigid Soul, Will is the Only Fire Under an Avalanche