Living in the shadows of its predecessor Phobos Monolith, this fourth chapter from the American band fails to make a particular distinction of itself. Heliacal Rising sets the album off with haunting Ethereal tones of sullen dreary sombreness. A Post-Rock approach creates a scenic direction soon lost to the counteracting intensity. Only the lurching howls of agonizing screams that dissipate into the distance tie it to the Black Metal direction it soon embarks on. With a slow build up it lunges in with increasing degrees of distortion guitar resonance. By the second song we land on a hybrid of extreme musical intensity and crafty guitar work focused on forging esoteric atmospheres through non linear music that never quite engages me fully.
Its a rattle of pummeling drums bearing down on the listener as howling guitar leads foray into abstract melodies that lack the cosmic vibes of the previous record. The screams tend to land as intersecting slabs of noise, screeching out into the distance as heavy but short reverberations have them sink away. On paper this could all work but none of its emerging melodies quite strike a chord despite having clear lineage. Things do pick up heading into the end of the record, a darker atmosphere and agitated, aggressive riffs forge power over the brighter counterpart. These songs hold themselves together well with busying drumming and more interesting chord progressions.
Albums like this often pivot on mood and perhaps I have indulged too much in this form of Extreme Metal lately as its just not having an impact. It sounds technically wonderful and the production serves its intention well but through all the darkly music little of it has been as stimulating as Id expect. Much of the key musical progression emerges from design with the same blueprint and thus gets a little tiresome without any break out moments. Not one I'll probably come back to but it was an entertaining listen to say the least.
Favorite Track: Occultated Temporal Dimensions