Posted by Nick Skog on Saturday, February 1, 2014 Under: Album Reviews
From: Black Phoenix Rising
Published: February 1, 2014
One man project Windbruch prove once again there's no shortage of good music emerging from Russia and the surrounding region. On first impressions "No Stars, Only Full Dark" appears to pitch its tent firmly into the black metal/post rock/shoegaze fusion camp that we've seen become rather popular over recent years, comparisons to bands such as Alcest would not be far wrong. However for Windbruch the connection is one of inspiration rather than imitation, you can hear the influences clearly but the album tells its own story in its own way and offers some unexpected surprises on the journey.
The album opens up after a short introductory track with "No More Entry, No More Exit", the style will seem familiar to many, atmospheric, and melancholic but without neglecting the black metal origins either. Windbruch gets the balance pretty much spot on, the harsh vocals and the often intense drumming in particular keep this from moving into flowery territory, and while the guitar sound isn't too aggressive it does take darker, more depressive tones later on. The third track "No Stars" is an exceptionally good, mostly instrumental track which gradually builds up and offers a very rich and mesmerising atmosphere, a very strong piece indeed even with only minimal vocals used. Next is "A City On Fire", which is a slow sombre track that's reminiscent of funeral doom, backed up with some harsh and tortured growls, this is where the album becomes darker and strikes out into it's own territory. "Only Full Dark" continues on this path, offering one of the albums more impressive, unique and daring moments. It begins as an ambient track, fairly mellow but before long the song drops into the albums darkest moment, becoming extremely minimalistic, utilising voice samples from the Russian film "Stalker" and even patches of silence even which create a sense of isolation. The music then kicks in again around the six minute mark, all the instruments coming together, returning to the post rock/BM style and concluding the track in breathtaking fashion. It's followed by "Neswa-Pawuk", which brings us near to the end of the album with a shoegazey type song with half sung, half whispered vocals. It's much more chilled, ebbing and flowing between a fairly restrained and subdued approach to a soaring, majestic style almost reminiscent of something you might hear from The Angelic Process, and this continues in the final instrumental track "Flashback To My Lake" which serves as a good conclusion to what proves to be a fascinating and emotional journey.
This is actually one impressive album, it's one that initially deceives you into thinking you're in familiar territory then takes you out of your comfort zone and down unexplored paths which contrasts both light and dark and creates many vivid moods and textures. Emotional, melancholic, at times breathtaking, it's a brave album for sure, it flirts with the post BM/"blackgaze" styles, often much maligned in certain quarters but using them very effectively as the foundation then to cap it off takes a lot of risks by doing things which could so easily fall flat on their face in less competent hands. In short what we have is a sprawling atmospheric black metal epic that once again shows what can be done when you take black metal as a starting point then go places with it, it's an album that I'd recommend to any fans of atmospheric metal whether they're into black metal or not and proves that Hypnotic Dirge made another excellent call by adding Windbruch to their ranks.
Reviewed by: Demoniac
In : Album Reviews
Tags: windbruch no stars only full dark rodion silentium! atmospheric black metal post black metal ambient black metal soundtrack