Manipulating influences as varied as battering hyperblasts, smouldering grooves and intricate orchestral flourishes is a feat that few would dare attempt, let alone pull off with any modicum of success. But as a seamless record that’s rich in fluid transitions and explosive, contrasting dynamics, it’s with instinctive ease that Wallachia mastermind Lars Stavdal handles this expansive variety of ink-black atmospheres and traditions. And since releasing the hauntingly epic ‘Shunya’ back in 2012, the past five years have seen an audible refinement and streamlining of this curious compositional alchemy.
With a distinctly grittier, guitar-driven sound forming the bitingly visceral backbone of this intelligently penned long-player, genre-defying standout ‘Heathen Shores’ displays practised expertise in blending craggy, classically Norwegian trappings with generous lashings of glimmering piano notes. Factoring into the mix additional, epic measures of choral vocals and spoken word passages worthy of a Viking invasion, theirs is a sound steeped in all the cold, windswept majesty of their native homeland. Propelled by a violent implosion of deathly gargling and insanely paced spirals of thorny tremolo, the wildly energised ‘Silenced No Longer’ swamps the senses with aggression within seconds before gracefully ebbing away beneath a haunting wash of gilded acoustics and atmospheric whispers. With its impeccably arranged, rhythmic exchanges of bracing Nordic blasts and luxuriant cello notes, ‘So We Walk Alone’ ranks among the most technically adept of these many and varied compositions, whilst ‘The Prophets of Our Time’ showcases an altogether more direct and easily digestible sound.
Combining inventive songwriting with an absorbing wealth of abrasive, haunting and stirringly beautiful atmospheres, ‘Monumental Heresy’ is a relentlessly imaginative and frequently bewitching outing.
‘Monumental Heresy’ is out 13th April on Debemur Morti Productions
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