At the end of July British metal duo Eihort has released their debut album Consuming the Light, presenting to the world 30+ minutes of traditional black metal. And it was released digitally through Odium Records and physically via their sub-label Underground Kvlt Records (limited only to a hundred copies). And after a couple of months an underground label Audio Miasma produced 60 cassettes of this record.
Eihort is a young two-year-old band based in London (but both musicians are originally from Poland) – multi-instrumentalist A. and singer Hellishdust have joined forces in order to spread their own hymns for mighty black metal. With plenty of experience in different black and death metal projects, this hellish duet has summarized their views on how to revive the ideas of pure black metal’s philosophy. Leaving obsolete satanic dogmas aside, they still have chosen violence, but peppering it with a confident blast of soothing melodies. But no worries, it didn’t destroy black metal’s rawness in favour of melodic black metal’s submissive energy. And it goes under a subtle protection of atmospheric shroud, but not strong enough to distract the listener from classic black metal’s perception.
The riffs are incredibly primitive, but with a tendency towards overall catchiness. Strange, how regarding old black metal no one even dares to call it simple or primitive. Traditional, classic, pure, vintage, typical, but not ordinary or primal. But new bands don’t have this privilege, so we can call them old school, boring, outdated or crude in the most traditional way. That’s why these big legends are classics, their music is sacrosanct and the bands themselves – the gods incarnate. And it’s not about Eihort in particular (only vaguely), but about general phenomenon, when you don’t pursue the experimental and innovative paths, but just want to pay homage to your favorite musical genre. So, if your musical style isn’t unique, then you need to play catchy, charismatically, virtuously etc., and be able to invest something that is truly yours. And we are not talking about the mainstream, where media moguls produce thousands of stereotypical performers to please the average listener; it’s about the music without strict interference with business. So, what about Eihort, how thorny is their musical path?
It seems like with this debut album Eihort are located someplace in the middle between blind imitation of classic black metal and the attempts to instill their very own distinctive ideas. When we put aside very conventional foundation and ignore the constant rawness, then these small surprises can be audible by a perceptive ear – pensive acoustic passages (“Dead Cold Eyes Staring into the Darkness” and “Oblivion”), heavy metal’s straightforwardness (“Transmutation of the Mind”) or oriental influence and ambient parts (“Bloodcurdling Serenades”). And if we perceive this album in more general terms, we are blessed to burst safely into melancholic stupor or dive into aggressive frenzy, and though the emotional background isn’t too rich in patterns, it’s not about the static or empty, the emotions are real during this album, they just aren’t too vigorous and vivid. And let’s not dismiss the last cover track “Blood Ritual” from Samael, this song strongly differs from the rest of the material. Too mischievous and thrashy and fun for their level of darkness, but perfectly pertinent for the sake of diversity.
The creepy graphic and detailed cover art from Polish illustrator Robert A. von Ritter resonates quite well with the spirit of this music – grim, hopeless, medieval. Black metal bands are often obsessed with symbolical metaphor of forest – an epitome of secret aura, the evil, the all-consuming darkness. And it’s not just about metaphorical sense; black metal preaches these dogmas, making those a part of their history. Eihort’s journey has just begun, their fondness for historical trends is substantial right now, but who knows what kind of unique moves they have in mind for their next album?
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