Review: Moon And Azure Shadow “Age of Darkness and Frost”

Review: Moon And Azure Shadow “Age of Darkness and Frost”

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Score 70%
Summary
70 %
User Rating : 3 (1 votes)
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When I was asked to do this review I was initially afraid that I wouldn’t be able to because of how insipid of an impression the music would have on me. What I can already say is that is not the case, there are some genuinely emotional moments where everything seemed to come together.

This is the second release of the artist and, even though not having heard their debut, I was excited to hear what the second release would sound like knowing that the knowledge you gain from completing your first album is always profound and leave you so much better prepared when going forth with new material.

And indeed the tunes of the intro song ‘Across Dark Landscapes’ are very pleasant. The arrangement is balanced and confidently executed. But I don’t come further than here before I have to express myself about the biggest issue with this work. The second track, and what would count as the first full song of the album, has it’s own intro in the same style and it makes up a third of the song. This tautological structure represses the emotional impact of the otherwise beautiful pieces of music.

The black metal parts we hear on ‘Age of Darkness and Frost’ redeems the song nonetheless and creates an ethereal atmosphere together with the melody played on harp-like synth. The black metal doesn’t make a long visit before the song shift over to sombre orchestral ambient again and the same can be said for the shorter intermezzo I would describe the next song as. Regardless how grand and graceful sound image it is it still loses its edge after a while.

‘Abyssic Lunar Tower’ is one of the absolute high-points of the album. If I were to ignore the previous interlude I would say that the song has a wonderful build-up before it really takes off. Unfortunately the emotional impact is hollowed by its, by this point, predictiveness. The intro is abruptly ended by the introduction of guitar and drums, the guitar performs a riff supported by an evolving drum pattern. The riff changes up a few times to provide variation and to better suit the verse that comes next and it works well and the riffs are quite good.

The song eventually reaches its peak with the guitars shifting to tremolo picking and the overall structure taking a more primal approach, apart from the dramatic synths that inhabit the upper stratum under the foundation that the drums, guitars and vocals provide.

The last third is perhaps the best piece of the entire album. A beautifully melancholic melody played on some kind of keys supported by rumbling and hypnotic drums and guitars. The vocals sounds great here too, sang with previously unprecedented power and, dare I say, sincerity.

I will move on to the second half of track six, ‘Unholy Vanquishing’. Just as the song goes into a gap of almost silence a drum beat breaks it to set the framework for a dramatic section. The main characters of this act is the mellow and bittersweet melody and the drawn-out screams. Very reminiscent of Summoning, which should emphasize the quality of the particular melodies here. ‘Passage Through Time and Cold’ finally rounds of the album with sombre but soothing embrace.

This release has both passages that are highly memorable as well as multiple where I ask myself what purpose does this serve? The verdict is that I recommend this for those who have an unrestrained interest for new atmospheric black metal.

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