Polish doom/death metal band Black Blood of the Earth finally has released their debut album Bleak Light, Fervent Dark through underground metal label Art of the Night Productions. The band was formed in 2008, so thirteen years have passed, marking their first important milestone – the birth of full-length album, which was released on November 12th. Yes, there was one untitled demo in 2011 and even one EP Wave of Cold two years after, and then this enormous pause. So, now all waiting is over, and we can set up our ears on classical and high-quality doom/death metal.
Bleak Light, Fervent Dark emanates pervasively deep atmosphere; this album is constructed on traditional principles, never spoiling old school energy with modern innovations or experimental complications. It’s not that the arrangements are too primitive or the music is full of clichés, but still, such bands as Black Blood of the Black Earth are a good example of how to keep afloat these metal styles, that were young and promising two decades ago. And here we can also notice that this band has some unique traits that belong only to them – out of styles, out of time, just their little, almost invisible trademark. But this semi-uniqueness is really tiny right now, but I guess, that with time this band will focus their minds on this teeny-weeny spark to polish their own style.
If you are fond of doom/death metal without depressingly painful atmosphere, Bleak Light, Fervent Dark can become quite enjoyable experience. It’s rather positive and optimistic album, the sadness is filtered through different kinds of angles that are actually full of this bleak light before the sunset. When it’s still dark and greyish, but the first indicators of dawn have already made their way. Of course, sometimes overwhelming darkness and piercing sadness shows its ugly face, but only for a brief moment, just to remind us that it is still traditional doom/death. And the overall mood of the album sounds vulnerably fragile, but straightforward and steady rhythm, as well as non-emotional, but pertinent singing trivializes it back to ruthless and ordinary metal realm, where there is no place for sassy sentimentalities. They love to play with melancholic textures, conveying the bittersweet taste of controversial state of heartwarming sorrow. Sometimes we can even forget about doom/death aggressive side, catching some retro gothic rock vibes, but those enlightened passages are also short-lived.
For doom metal there is too much flirtation with the pace of the album – from speedy black metal passages to static and repetitive slow pieces. The guitar riffs are mainly very simple and classical (rather suitable for heavy metal), building the foundation of the compositions in this relaxing and plain manner. The mood of the album is also unchallenging and laid back, only occasionally showing some signs of anxiety or fury. The most violent parts are sprinkled a bit with black metal, when aggression devours constant melancholic aura and pollutes it with nocturnal energy of death (“Dusk and Decay”). The most melancholic and soft songs are tinged with gothic rock elements, also making them morbidly melodic (“The Dying Sun” or “October”). Acoustic elements are also responsible for the mitigation of the sound, creating pretty calm and sheer atmosphere (“Grey Cobweb Veil” or “October”). The last track “Drowning” messes a little with harmonies, creating almost disharmonic hindrance. But paints it as well with kind of experimental nuances, but still remaining safely in traditional doom/death metal domain.
The artwork perfectly showcases the name of this album – Bleak Light, Fervent Dark, playing with strong contrasts, when the all-consuming darkness acquires the vigorous and very lively spirit, but light transforms into despairingly gloomy entity. In their music these contrasts are not so brightly expressed, placing them rather in the background, so this album perfectly fits into the framework of traditional and pure doom/death. Black Blood of the Earth could be very effective and vibrant, but these Polish doomsters have decided to mute their shining blaze, but fortunately, without consequences to slide into obscure boredom and total lack of ideas.
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