3. Shores of the Sleeping Seas
5. The Ancient Ones
In collaboration with the obscure contemporary Swedish label, Temple of Torturous, Siberian atmospheric act Ultar reveal their debut LP after releasing two obscure, nihilistic and necrotic full lengths under the name Deafknife.
Just as the cover for this record signifies, this album is a breath of fresh air and puts Ultar on the same noble path as now acclaimed bands such as Wolves in the Throne Room, Ghost Bath and Deafheaven. Opening with the ten minute ‘Nyarlathotep’, the quartet create a magical atmosphere that draws on ambient sound, walls of glistening guitar chords and drum beats that ingrain into your brain.
Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, the tracks travel through the spectra of light and dark. ‘Azathoth’ uses sparse arpeggios and folksy strumming to create a calming, tranquil atmosphere, whereas ‘Xasthur’ gives this album a blisteringly heavily underbelly before choirs add a whole new texture that soars above the darkness.
The vocal style of Gleb is coarse and high, reminiscent of Emperor’s Ihsahn but with less character, and a more anonymous, undecipherable tone that many modern atmospheric black metal bands now adopt.
It is fairly unremarkable, and it is fortunate that the prominent atmospheres and impressive riffs carry this record through.
Although occasionally formulaic, the twists and turns of this record’s ambience allows the concept of time to disappear, and this album is over before you will realise. After closer ‘Kadath’ slows to a pause, it’s almost impossible to resist hitting the repeat button. These six tracks seem to be over in the blink of an eye