Review from The Sound Projector/Metal Archives

Posted by Nick Skog on Friday, January 31, 2014 Under: Album Reviews
From: The Sound Projector/Metal Archives
Published: November 29, 2013

No Stars, Only Full Dark ... I take that to mean that from here on in, Windbruch's not messing about doodling with experimental effects and ambience ... this is going to be full-on depressive melodic black metal, intense and aggressive, yet with moments of reflection and subtlety. On first listen, this is what we get: a raw and sometimes angry music, ragged and sharp in tone with a full bass backing, shaped into actual songs edged with delicate ambient sounds and tones that add touches of ice coldness. There is no doubt, Windbruch (headed by Iluzi Optice) means business and is in for the long haul out of far-distant Siberia and to conquer the world!

As on his debut, IO / Windbruch brings skill and imagination plus an ability to learn from mistakes he might have made earlier in his career to craft an album of self-contained and clearly defined songs that feature as much cold space-ambient synth, field recordings of nature and what might be termed "soundtrack music" as they do raw suicidal black metal. The path "No Stars ..." might not sound all that different for the most part from what other one-man or two-men BM projects have done but it's best at this early stage in his career for IO to get the balance between a more commercial style of BM rock pop and his more abstract experimental tendencies right and to his liking, and to gain the support of a loyal fan-base, before he starts stretching the formula to his own ends.

The album begins strongly with "No More Entry, No More Exit" (taken together, the track titles suggest an arc of being enticed by the city, ending up being trapped there, reaching one's nadir and experiencing a crisis) which is actually the second track, the first track being an extended introduction. The music is usually robust and hard-hitting; as the album progresses, more ambience, especially at the start and end of each track, and melodic keyboard are brought in, and the album becomes more post-BM in style. Vocals, where they appear, are upfront in the music and are deep and gravelly, almost death-metal in style. The tension builds up through each track and flows into the next; ambient passages relieve some of the tension but not all of it so the suspense and momentum are maintained.

Later tracks like "A City on Fire" and "Only Full Dark" become ponderous and include quite cold, forlorn space-ambient melodies and spoken-voice recordings. There is a definite urban-blues / post-rock feel which might seem surprising for a Russian BM band, especially one so far away from Europe and North America. The latter track throws away actual music and becomes entirely experimental in most of its second half; its reliance on near-inaudible drone rumble beneath a Russian-language radio monologue is daring. "Neswa-Pawuk" has a dreamy shoegazer atmosphere, a bit like a harder and more ponderous version of Alcest. From this moment on, the album has a sunnier and more positive outlook even if its central protagonist is still stuck in a hard urban environment.

The album is very self-assured and IO demonstrates confidence in composing in BM / ambient / post-rock fusions. Most songs are well-defined with some allowance for experimentation. There is something to please most people here, though I'm sure IO didn't set out deliberately to please everyone. At this time of writing, the album had been released independently by Windruch; it really deserves a much wider hearing. Let's hope it's just a matter of time before a label picks up this recording.

Rating: 87/100
Reviewed by: Jennifer Hor

In : Album Reviews 

Tags: windbruch  no stars only full dark  rodion  silentium!  atmospheric black metal  post black metal  ambient black metal  soundtrack 


 Released: February 1, 2014
500 Copies
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal/Soundtrack