grey heaven fall – black wisdom (2015)

russian black metal trio have been active for about ten years and black wisdom is their second full-length. the fact that i just came across this gem is just sad. this may be due to the band’s rather low profile or the russian black metal scene itself. the 51 minute, 6 track album showcases brilliant moments of black metal splendour, ornamented in parts by ambient elements, death/doom influences and a “modern” black metal structure characterised by complex riffing, ringing sound and syncopated scales. however, black wisdom is not necessarily inaccessible, as its contemporaries.

grey heaven fall embrace a thick, guitar & drum based structure where guitar leads, sets the tone and the atmosphere masterfully. here you have the trademark black metal tremolo, dissonant riffing, death metal power chords, beautiful solos, arpeggios, ambient sections and much variation by guitar sound alone. the drums follow the lead so well, shifting between double-bass, blast beats and slower, off-scale moments masterfully. while setting the pace, the drum work is so controlled and there is not one unnecessary show-off drum section. neither is there one out of place hit and this mechanical perfection complements the overall organic sound in such a satisfying fashion. i would prefer a crispier (if not louder) sound for the bass, though, which shines in moments when it leads. vocal sections (in russian) are somewhat limited for the sake of lengthy passages of instrumentation and experimentation. the tone is awesome, ranges from death metal throaty to black metal shrieking to anguish wailing.

while maintaining variation and experimentation in a controlled manner, grey heaven fall succeed in keeping the black metal solemnity throughout. however, the individual songs convey varying emotions as the first two furious tracks give way to the third rather melancholic song. then comes the fourth ambient track and the closing two tracks are more on the doom/death metal side, extremely heavy, if not as pacey as the opening duo, while maintaining the overall song structure and including lengthy slower passages. this sway of emotions may be distracting or demanding on the part of the listener but the album is sure to present new moments of brilliance and awe in each listening.

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