Written by CoreyCritiques
Shaidar Logoth – Chapter III: The Void
Black Metal from Minneapolis, USA
Released November 6th, 2020
Via Sentient Ruin Laboratories
The fact that I wound up reviewing this album is serendipitous for two reasons. 1) Both myself and the band members live in Minneapolis, MN (no, I’ve never met them) 2) They are named after a city in the WHEEL OF TIME series by Robert Jordan (& Brandon Sanderson). While I’ve never read this particular book series, I’m a huge nerd for Adult Fantasy novels. I’ve listened to this album many times over the past few weeks, savoring all the different shades of black that this band has to offer.
The album opener “Nest of Pigs” is easily my favorite on the album. It starts off with some slow, meandering guitars. After a few minutes of these trickling guitar melodies, we get a nice low-key, nothing-fancy instrumental section complete with bass and drums, building and building in emotion and just this grand wave of sound. Nothing too heavy or caustic yet. It’s like floating on a lazy river (but it’s Black Metal so it’s a “kvlt AF” lazy river). And then, these cold’n grim Northerners crank the whole thing up a few notches and the guitars and vocals start shrieking louder and louder, crescendoing into some of the filthiest, angriest riffs I’ve heard all year.
This is one thing I’d like to commend this band on – their ability to go from mournful, melancholic melodies into some straight-up filthy, hateful, nasty riffs, and the guitar work here is really something special. If you’re a fan of some old school 2nd-wave BM that you can bang your head to, this band delivers. Speaking of 2nd-wave, A.C.’s vocals are very reminiscent of your typical mid-range Black Metal vocals. Almost made me think of Nattefrost of Carpathian Forest. Around the 11-minute mark, we get some cool guitar noodling and some whispered, half-heard vocals until your ears are just fucking ATTACKED in the best way possible. Just an explosion of BM goodness – blast beats, tremolo guitars, and a solid rhythm section.
The next song on the album contains some of the coolest vocals I’ve heard on a BM release in awhile. The whole song starts off with this sludgy, plodding, mournful riff and the vocals sound like the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin. You know what I’m talking about? Yeah, it’s actually pretty sweet and it also allowed me to actually hear the lyrics. The track picks up the pace at about the 2:30 mark and continues on in a furious wave, able to be both majestic and furious at the same time.
“Consume Pieces of God” is the penultimate track on the album and it feels like the most straightforward balls-to-the-wall slab of Black Metal on here. A bit faster and punkier than the other tracks on the album, this song is a welcome change after the melancholy that the band has employed up until now. One thing I enjoyed about this track in particular is the clarity in the vocals.
The album ends with “Withered on the Vine”. Starting off with some spooky ambient tones, the guitars eventually creep in, clean in tone and funereal in pace. They leave the listener feeling eager and curious to see what is around this haunted musical landscape. This song showcases the band’s ability to slow down and craft something of immense beauty and left me in awe as I often found myself listening to it on my headphones while walking around a lake nearby my apartment. That’s actually something that can be said about the album as a whole: it’s a great soundtrack for autumn or winter nature walks. Around the 7-minute mark, this ambient intro is interrupted by loud pounding drums and an almost Doom Metal guitar section with some mid-level vocals serving as the undercurrent. Lots of cymbal crashes and repetitive guitar melodies going on here, entrancing the listener as it trudges along, like a Black Metal dirge. The pace picks up eventually but speed is never the ultimate theme in this song. Rather, this is a highly emotional song that is all about creating an emotional and aural soundscape with it’s rich tones and repetitive riffs.
I wouldn’t say that this album is groundbreaking, but it certainly is a breath of fresh air in what can often be a stagnant metal genre. Pick it up when it drops on November 6th and listen for yourself.