All Men Must Die is a symphonic black metal album by The Coming Darkness, that has a good dose of rawness to it and the symphonic elements aren’t too overbearing. It’s pretty much what you’d want as a black metal fan with very few adjustments needed, just refinement. Mostly, I think perhaps the vocals (which are fine in quality) need to be moved in the mixing more, sometimes it comes in too hot and sometimes it’s in the middle. A little more consistency there and this would basically be spot on.
The guitar melody is stronger than the symphony melody, I really enjoy the cleaner guitar parts. If you’re going to use a lot of symphonics in your music it’s important to try and tie it into the instruments appropriately and not just have a basic choir playing over the top of your music which this release can fall victim to sometimes but for the most part the symphony follows the rhythm of the guitar. Having more breaks from the symphonics and letting the instruments speak for themselves is an important part of a songs momentum. There was a part where the symphony dropped out and an almost acoustic sounding guitar ended the track nicely, well I wanted that guitar to go on a little longer and have it’s own moment. Definitely consider dropping it out every now and then for maximum impact.
This is a really good first release that shows the appropriate amount of room for improvement that makes me want these two to keep working at and keep putting out music. Hone your craft and follow your passions because the vision is there. It just needs the right home and the right approach.
Where to put your music:
This album is on Spotify and iTunes as well as other mainstream services which are very big platforms to put your music on but not necessarily the avenue where people are looking for underground metal. Which this album very much is. These platforms just don’t benefit an underground black metal artist much, at best it gives you a link to your music where a lot of people have access to it, but it’s such a small percentage of those people on Spotify who would dig it. Basically, it’s more for normies and there’s no substantial way for the project to gain any potential funding. Bandcamp is a must for this sort of project because even if you don’t want to sell the album, you can have it “name your own price” and some people will name a price and you will get funding. This is also where all the underground music fans are getting their music and merch, mainly because it is so friendly to underground bands so that’s where they all went and the audience followed.
Bandcamp also allows you to find other paths of promoting your music through their system. There’s just so much utility available such as ending up in the new release section, recently purchased, being in people’s collections who have friends that then purchase the album after hearing it there, you can generate bandcamp codes to run your own giveaway promotions to gain interest in the project. You can have merch and like I said, you can sell the album or have a donate option by putting it as “name your own price”. Bandcamp also displays more information on screen relevant to the project, as much as you can provide and the more the better. Reviewers use Bandcamp as research because the music can be downloaded there, the album art can be downloaded, the social links are on there, the artwork artist is usually credited and there’s plenty of additional context we can find on these pages. For example, I could used the cover as an additional piece of flair for this article but don’t have access to the file via Spotify.
Access to wider platforms doesn’t necessarily mean access to a wider audience. Your audience, if you’re in a black metal band, isn’t a wide audience. It’s a very specific audience and you need to find them. For black metal projects like this you’ll find a lot of support by making a video on YouTube, it can be as simple as album art and the track, and post it around Facebook groups. There’s heaps of them with heaps of people in them. Just search Black Metal under groups, there’s even ones specifically for symphonic or atmospheric black metal, post black… everything you can think of. You can post a bandcamp link there too. A spotify link may work but I don’t think a lot of them use it. Adapt to what your audience is before you can possibly make your audience something bigger and outside of yourself.