Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Arathgoth "Book Of The Night-Legends" (2014)

American musician, presumably a one man band, "Arathgoth" has undergone considerable exploration and change of its sound through the eight releases since the bands debut in late 2012. I discovered this project through Katabaz Records and have followed it closely waiting for a record that clicked with me. In its inception the sound was a gloomy, minimalist rendition of eerie ambience's, sound scape's and Dungeon Synth that was slowly evolving before varied experimentation on "Interplanetary Travel" that led the sound towards the familiar territory of Black Metal, which is what caught my attention on Legends. I was thrown back to the time when I was exploring that world and loving the places the music could take you, it gave me a taste of that wonder again.

With its opening tracks the record establishes a settled sound that defies feeling closely linked to a particular band or style within Black Metal. Encompassing a lot of influences, techniques and familiarities the songs make for easy, traditional listening with an air of quality to draw one into its subtleties which gave it edge. Buried keys and airy synthesizers blur the guitar distortions into deep, colorful persuasions which come to life in the breakout moments that utilize rock steady drumming. The tone is dark, foreboding, atmospheric and the themes of witchery, vampire-ism and dragons bring to life an evil dimension. The record quickly steers its direction away from the black with Dungeon Synth taking over the tracks. It splits the record in half and spoils the initial attractions progression and what felt like an interlude further devolves into ambient numbers which could certainly entertain had the context not been different.

The records production doesn't suffer from any of its rough edges, as is often the case with Black Metal the raw mix, occasional clashing of instruments and low fidelity just furthers the aesthetic and atmosphere. The drum machine is well constructed, disguising itself well but in faster moments the sampling becomes obvious, at times its mechanical nature it a nice touch, at others its all too commanding and dominant, but for the majority of the opening tracks it works. Its nice to hear a record that has a spark of a music Ive grown somewhat distant too in recent years, but the records change in direction was disappointing and although i can't be critical of the second half it dispelled what the album set out to do.

Favorite Tracks : Vampiric Doll, A Penance Of God, Desert Wings
Rating: 5/10