Written by Alex
- Atmospheric Black Metal
- Limburg, Belgium
- April 3, 2020
A black metal album that’s actually comforting to listen to? I never thought I would hear such a thing but Ande have produced such an album. Black metal, in general, creates three moods for me; either I want to go get lost in the woods for a few hours, I want to scream about Satan for a while or it makes me want to soak in my own nihilism. Ande have given us a record that makes me want to curl up in front of a fire with a blanket and a cup of tea to listen to it. I think it’s a really unique record in the regard. It’s been refreshing listen to this album while getting ready to review it.
The record starts off with an instrumental interlude track. A lot of the time I find them to be unnecessary or just not used effectively but that’s not the case here. This track helps to set up the pleasant atmosphere of the whole record. The music lacks the usual aggressive, cold, or hate filled sound of a lot of black metal has and the intro track lets you know that right of the bat. The music, as a whole, has a driving melody to it that is prevalent throughout the whole runtime. It’s this aspect that makes the record so nice and easy to listen to. The soothing atmosphere makes the whole thing go by fast so I could have done with an extra track or two.
The guitar work is the shining star as far as the instruments are concerned. The tone of the guitars is as close to perfect has they could have got for melding the feeling of the music together. They drive everything in a soft, melodic way that was very well executed. I don’t think the record would have worked near as well if they hadn’t nailed this. The overall pacing is great as well. The tracks are laid out so that you never get too much of one tempo or element at a time. You’ll be given a fast tremolo picked part and just when you start wanting something else, they’ll give you a slowed down section that’s reminiscent of My Dying Bride.
Ande: Bandcamp / Facebook / Official Website
While my issues with this record are few, there still are some. Pretty much my entire issue with this album is due with the production and the mixing. I’m personally a fan of a clear, well rounded sound. I want everything to be placed evenly in the mix and I want to be able to hear everything that’s going on. The vocals sit quite far back amongst everything else. It makes it hard to really appreciate them because they get lost behind the guitars for a lot of the record. The low end couldn’t have also stood to be a little fuller sounding. The bass work pops up here and there but not enough for my liking. The bass drum sounds a little hollow to my ears as well.
The music builds on itself as the record goes on. The first part of the record is nice melodic black metal, then the 4th track is stripped down with an acoustic type feel and later on they start using synths to add even more depth to the record. The way they built these layers up as they went was a really effective tool for keeping you engaged and intrigued throughout the whole record. There are also a few spoken word passages used on the latter half of the record that built on to everything else going on as well.
The album finishes as it starts with an instrumental track, except the closer utilizes all the elements of the band’s sound instead of the simplicity they opted for on the album opener. This ties the whole record together in a nice way. You can tell just how much attention to detail Ande had when crafting this record and I really love to see that kind of thing. Music is always better when you can tell a band or artist really loves what they’re making. This is a wonderful album overall and definitely something a little unique in the black metal I’ve heard this year.
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