I must admit – I have been hanging around for a decent black metal album for some time now. It feels that there has been a bit of a lull and all those faithful to the nasty noise have holed up and started on something new whilst the pandemic rages about us (in a whimpering, undetectable kind of way). So, as soon as I came across this from Sweden’s Ages, I catapulted myself straight through its front door. The question is – was it the decent black metal album that I have been yearning for?
Well, it’s written by three guys with some heritage (one of them was in Dissection for a bit), it’s black metal from Sweden which can never be a bad thing and it’s got fire on the cover – so all bodes well. But, overall, what I actually found within it was intriguing.
To start with, I love the album with its colossal production and dynamic construction. Songs such as ‘Illicit State’ leap out of the blocks whilst the folk-tinged title track makes even heavier use of already-heavily-used synthesizers. What got me about this record was the warmth. It is, undoubtedly, one of the warmest black metal records I have heard in a long time. I could feel the glow of Rotting Christ and the bonfire-lit edges of Agalloch. Yet, this is from Sweden where you would expect melodic but not temperate. There isn’t an icicle or a frozen deer carcass in sight. I even think the sun came up at one point.
In short, after removing all my clothes and basking in ‘Uncrown’, I came out really liking it. If Ages do take this out to the live stage, I would certainly take some time to see it. Fancy somewhere hot though – like Bali. Or Hades.