Suldusk – Anthesis 10/10
Anthesis is the sophomore release of Australia’s Suldusk. What began as a solo endeavour from the incredibly talented Emily Highfield, Album number two employs a fully formed band that continues a breathtakingly beautiful yet harrowing experience in equal measure.
Anthesis is an album that defies expectations, every promise hinted at on their landmark debut Lunar Falls is expanded, the melodies grander yet so simply beautiful, the heavy parts a sharp and painful contrast that are distressing and anguished as on the remarkable ‘’Verdalet’’. Everything is layered every crescendo a maelstrom of fury as fierce as the worst storm yet at others as calm as the morning after as on ‘’Sphaera’’ and the ethereal ‘’Crystalline”. The musical interplay between instruments on ‘’Mythical Creatures’’ is transcendent and surprising with its innate ability to be so gentle bordering on the innocent, at times softened yet incredibly tangible. The title tracks the most powerful hymn matched only by the closer ‘’A Luminous End “that is the perfect synthesis of styles and emotions that is majestic in its delivery. Genres no longer matter, Blackgaze, folk, gospel and extreme, whatever, this is music that is apisteftos.
It is the combination of beautiful melodies and extreme soundscapes that evolve naturally elevate Suldusks ability to create a masterwork and a truly remarkable album, Anthesis ( to bloom in Greek) is an audible journey of growth that documents both pain and growth, a duality of life and its success and failures and the ability to overcome and celebrate, record and remember. Intense, incredible powerful and heavy, it is quite possibly the album of the year already. Essential.
Borknagar - Fall 9/10
The undefinable force of nature that is Borknagar have returned with their twelfth full-length offering. The Norwegian outfit since their beginnings in 1995 have taken the boundaries of black metal and broken them with a natural evolution that incorporates their signature extreme sound, wonderful seventies infused progression, elements of folk, traditional and Avant Garde art.
From the inherent beauty of ‘’Nordic Anthem’’ to the excellence that is ‘’Stars Ablaze’’, ‘’ Fall’’ is a monument to both their expression and their black metal intensity that still lingers within their veins, the ability to encapsulate the wonderful transcendent riffs with Double kick percussion and dynamics just feels perfect, with the juxtaposition of vocals styles capturing the experience. ‘’Unraveling’ perfectly combines the union of dual vocal techniques. ‘’Afar’ on first listening burns with black metal intensity, then the organic keys linger, adding depth to the wonderfully clean sung chorus. This an album is full of texture and depth capturing the essence of nature such as the rousing power that is ‘’Moon.”
Some of the instrumentation is so sublime and addictive as on the’’ The Wild Lingers’’ that Fall commands repeat listening, ‘’Northward ‘’is a tour def force of everything that is their formidable talent. It is a track that really moves, stirring, evocative and the culmination of pure metal and emotion, proud of its heritage both audible and metaphorical yet continues to strive forward. Each track is an epic creation yet delivered with heartfelt sincerity that is alluring, unrestrained, each wonderful chapter a part of a complete adventure. Comparisons are superfluous and useless; this is their own personal testimony.
Fall is not just a record; it is an experience that is as captivating as it is addictive and passionate. Borknagar has created a melodic extreme infused success that is essential listening for the ardent lover of music. A celebration of excellent musicianship and belief. Highly recommended!