Sol/Blóðtrú "Old Europa Death Chants" CDPosted on Friday, January 21st, 2011 @ 7:21am » permalink
Another peculiar release from the always intriguing Paradigms Recordings catalog, "Old Europa Death Chants" offers two solo tracks apiece and two collaborative compositions from Danish one-man acts Sol and Blóðtrú, neither of whom had I heard (or heard of) prior to this. And to be honest, I'm not sure what I'd expect from either band's own full-length outings now, as the 77+ minutes herein span a range of funereal doom, apocalyptic/neo-folk, dark ambient/experimental noise, black metal, and then some. Hell, each band's solo compositions even head in all sorts of different directions!
Sol's contributions begin with "Crippled by Emotions We Die in Solitude" (an amazing song title), which largely offers deep, dark low-end drones and sparse vocal snarls with subtle, sustained-note melodies/feedback buried in the fog of the mix before a completely unexpected burst of raw, chaotically blasting black metal percussion takes charge (with no change to the slow, somber drones, mind you – which makes the percussion even more erratic and insane). But then "Where Did We Fall" opens with ethereal washes of ambient sound alongside acoustic guitars and assorted other stringed instruments. It's almost like full-on folk music before changing over to distorted pulses of bass and stripped down, martial percussion (with more sporadic snarls) to carry out the remainder of the track. As for Blóðtrú's efforts, "The Dusk of Man: The Dawn of Beasts" builds from the improvisational feel of dense low-end drones and dissonant, arbitrarily stricken chords/plucked notes towards more intentional and tangible rhythms/riffs that hit on a "blackened doom" vibe (aided by the textured rasps of sneering vocals). "A Golden Horse" then takes that doom-laden foundation to epic heights by combining the harsh vocals with excellent singing and throwing in some unexpectedly melodic bass runs reminiscent of an even more ominous Black Sabbath, not to mention superbly integrated layers of abstract noise and additional textures. Hypnotic and incredible.
Rather than combining all of these elements, the two collaborative pieces are both on the more subdued side. "Alone" is a fusion of singing and chanting vocals over assorted chiming bells and drones; while the title track consists entirely of lightly melodic, bagpipe-like drones (maybe it is bagpipes, I'm not sure) and minimal ambient hums/whirs. There's a really intriguing sense of eerie, melancholic atmosphere to the entire release, and it's clear that these two artists are an excellent match for one another. Further evidence that Paradigms Recordings is an extremely cool label that has quite a vision…