Written by Zax
Ysgaroth – Storm Over a Black Sea
Progressive Black Metal from Canada
Released November 13th, 2020
I’m just now realizing that I haven’t covered a proper black metal album on here since, shit, June… That said, with the beginning of November and the inevitable winter on the horizon, I figure it’s time to jump back into the darkest, coldest genre out there with this November 13th release.
What we have on the chopping block today is the debut album by Canadian black metal band Ysgaroth. Looking at the cover and album title might lead you to believe that we’re dealing with a pretty standard black metal project here, but that is not the case, as these guys pull from several different black metal subgenres to make for a truly eclectic project.
No matter the sound they tackle on here, it is all rooted in very solid production and great guitar tones, so every variation they make lands effectively. On the track “Sacred” they tread into some thrashy 1st wave black metal territory with razor sharp riffs and speedy blasts of percussion. They trek into atmospheric black metal with “Nam Gloria Satanas” which has some very potent melodies. Then, we have “Alter Of Scars” which barrages the listener with punishing doom metal riffs and a harsh noise outro. We are dealing with a truly dynamic act here my friends.
Another thing that struck me about this record was the unique lyrical themes for black metal, like how beautiful life is despite it’s challenges, and they also tackle the issue of global warming and the imminent death of the planet. “Alter Of Scars” details the crushing weight of capitalism on the working class, which was particularly powerful laid against the suffocating and oppressive nature of the music on that track.
The bass work on this album is fantastic as well, it stands out in a big way and, don’t quote me, but I believe a fretless bass is used in a couple of cuts here, really stellar work. The vocals leave a little to be desired, especially in the higher register, but they get the job done regardless.
If you’re looking for a unique black metal record to carry with you into this winter season, look no further! Fantastic stuff, really.