Band: Liminal Shroud
Title: All Virtues Ablaze
Label: Willowtip Records
Release Date: 05 August 2022
Format- High-quality digital recording
Well, today I am reviewing an album from my country, Canada’s Liminal Shroud, and this, their second album “All Virtues Ablaze” to be released in August of this year. This one comes after the success of 2020’s “Through The False Narrows” and I invite you to check out their first album if you get a chance. I’ve played “The False Narrows” through, and yes, I like very how they take inspiration from the west coast of Canada, the mountains and the sea, represented in their choices.
What is their newest album about: in an article in which the band speaks about the creation of this album, is the following quoted portions:
“This album represents and captures a process of rejection, annihilation and regeneration of the self and contemplates the cyclical forces of futility that shape our condition.”
“Lyrically, we delve deeper into the themes of hopelessness and despair, resolve and transformation present on our previous release, sharpened in the perception of emptiness yet with an eye to the vast reaches and sources of solace to be found above, below and around us. Again, the unyielding tides and otherworldly expanses of the coast provide much inspiration. This release is our next statement and beginning. We find our virtue in the blaze.”
That is the conception of the newest album, but what have the trio of Aidan Crossley, Rich Taylor and Drew Davidson pulled from that? I will try to explain best what I hear in the four tracks of this, and so far, I can describe the sound as having its hooks in black metal, but also other influences present in the ethereal aspects and discordance, being together like that, brings me to mind of shoe-gaze, almost a post-black metal sound emerging in certain tracks. Then you hear the quintessential black metal savagely cold riffing, maniacal pulsing drums and the vocals are wildly haunting gusts of brutal feeling and frigid energies. These four tracks pack a wallop, and with that said, here is track one.
“Hypoxic”, dire tones and tremolos, to begin, with those speed drum blasts. Vocals are gusting furious energies, searing your mind and ears against the guitars and drums that keep feeding that foreboding mood. Wall of sound being heard here, guitars are playing on a melancholic mood at this point, but quick changes to savagery and coldness. There’s something here that is so easy to listen to, makes me think of waves, breaking on the shoreline, how hypnotic that is to watch. That’s how this track is hitting.
“Mists Along Florencia”, I literally got the chills hearing this intro, so very emotive and beautiful. Track takes a harder approach to sound delivery in a gradual build up, lending more of a melodic, post-black metal influence here. Against frantic drum sets, and tremolos, solos, audible bass, icy vocals, and tempo changes, the track takes on a different personality. A blending of black metal and rock influences are heard. Guitar solos are reminiscent of rock music sensibilities. This last section of the track is powerful in guitar expression, and must be heard.
“Transmigration1-Pelagic Voids”, atmospheres being set in this instrumental intro, definitive drum beat, and encompassing thrumming notes. Punishing speed drumming to follow and growled, gust of vocals to kick off a brutal expose in black metal timing of tremolo picking. Tempo slows to this cosmic, simple beat being played on guitar, a saddened heavy beat, but done so exquisitely. So slow, at this juncture, that a doom inspiration is heard, Rampaging drums and guitar go to work against that piercing growled vocal.
Lastly, “Transmigration II – The Cleansing Ash”, piano, melancholic, pieced together, with electric guitar and slowly beating drums. I feel so much unsaid words in this expression. The track adds heavier guitar and more of the sorrowful mood thickens. Tempo change, and the growling, fierce tones come back, almost pushing that earlier melancholy away. Yet, you still here the shreds of that sadness. The slowly echoing clean singing section is a beautiful range of upliftment and calm, an acceptance is what I felt as I heard it.
This, is to me is black metal infused, a mix of post-black, shoe-gaze and some rock inspiration too. My point is, is that this band jumps categories and is hard to pin down, but again, why do we need to? If you want evolving, brutal, ever changing, explorative and extreme expression with beautiful whimsy pieced in here and there, then Liminal Shroud is ready to give that to you. I give 8/10 Metal Marie
8/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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