The label Season of Mist this year has decided to re-release the album “The Language of Limbs” of South-African band Constellatia (the independent German label Isolation released it in 2019 in a very limited number). Season of Mist has a perfect reputation for finding original gems on the extreme scene, so Constellatia has all opportunities to interest the listeners with their own musical vision and ideas.
“The Language of Limbs” consists only of four songs, but they are very long and with regular mood shifts. But the structural transitions are smooth and not too drastic, before returning to their starting point once again. This practice is often used by the bands with relatively long songs, to diversify them, otherwise the songs can sound too boring (but for some genres, like funeral doom, the extended monotony is the main goal). Is it really a black metal release? It’s hard to say, because the core of “The Language of Limbs” is rather based on the vision of early Alcest, some mix of shoegaze and post-metal (once Alcest played post-black metal before the experiments with more softer genres like post-rock). Overall this release is progressive, but within reasonable limits, because the aim of the band was to let out emotions and feelings, rather than to increase the technicality.
The album is melodic and sensitive, there’s a feeling, that you touch something too intimate and important, so the band truly managed to convey the dark sensations in listener. And like their guitarist Gideon Lamprecht has said that this album is about obsession and overcoming, which every band member endured in their personal lives. The acoustic parts make this album more romantic and nostalgic, adding some fragile beauty, but black metal foundation drags into depression once again, while the major post-rock notes create more positive aura. But despite such rich flow of emotions, “The Language of Limbs” is harmonic and integral.
The songs start with slow or acoustic passages (except for the first song “All Nights belong to You”), but after them the songs become heavier and more aggressive, to immerse the listener between thoughtfulness and grief. The most rapid parts are so fast, that the rhythm section sounds incredible, but because of unclean and messy sound, all these technical specifications are not so noticeable. Mainly the common structure of songs is founded on major scale rhythm, so typical to post-rock genre, but the song “Empyrean” is sad and gloomy, and it is rather influenced by depressive black/doom metal. On “The Garden” the bright sadness interacts with dark and creepy side of the depression, but the post-rockish ending prevails with its beautiful melancholic acoustic passage. The ambient elements make this release more atmospheric and mysterious, though there are not so many of them.
The dominance of rhythm-guitar is evident, but without complicated and technical insanity, it perfectly builds up the structure of each song with long and repetitive riffs, sometimes even too pop-like (like in the first song “All Nights belong to You”). But the lead guitar is quite neutral, only on the last song “The Garden” Gideon Lamprecht demonstrated his skills, but in a more traditional metal style. The acoustic elements also increase the atmospheric sounding. The singer Keenan Oakes has a silent and hoarse voice, but during the most affective moments his screaming becomes more emotional, losing its feebleness. But the additional vocalist Alison Rochel from the band Honeymoan beautifully graces this male release with her tenderness and tristesse, despite the fact, that she’s always on the background, and on the last (very shoegaze) song “The Garden” she more reads, than sings to the acoustic accompaniment.
The post-black metal isn’t a rare sight or new invention nowadays, but still it lacks high-profile names. But with a new contract with Season of Mist Constellatia has all the potential to prove its worth, to enrich not just the musical genre of post-black, but all the extreme African metal scene.
Release date: June 19th, 2020
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