Palace of Worms - The Ladder
Broken Limbs Recordings
Black Metal
7 songs (46'30'')
Release year: 2016
Broken Limbs Recordings
Reviewed by Jared

Over the last year, black metal music has really taken the back seat for me. Not much has surprised me except for the very excellent solo project Fuath, from metal mastermind Andy Marshall (more known for his solo Celtic folk band Soar). So it comes as no surprise that another one man black metal band makes it way to me, this time with Palace of Worms headed by a man named Balan hailing from California. The Ladder is his third full-length album.

So what kind of solo black metal album are we to expect hear? To be honest, I went into my first encounter with Palace of Worms expecting something I have already heard before. The Ladder ended up surprising me, with its sometimes raw black metal, it also shows a melodic and very atmospheric side I wasn’t imagining before pressing play. The track, In the Twilight Divide, opens up the album with a bit of an odd sounding folk start, but quickly becomes dark. Riffs are indeed heavy, but the guitar leads brings out a very interesting melodic side. Vocals may be harsh, that of the typical death and black metal nature, but something else I wasn’t expecting popped up in the very first track. Though the mood still remains dark, clean and transcendental vocals roll in to create a beautiful touch.

Nightworld begins much more sluggishly, with big doomy sounding riffs. Though the distortion of the guitars may be the general focus, Balan creates a great balance from the harsh buzz of the guitars and incorporates some clean elements here in this track, feeling very oceanic. Following after, I found myself yet surprised once again with the track An Innate Sickness. This entirely instrumental keyboard track is a very eerie piece, one that breaks up the album nicely. However in the long run, this track will more than likely be skippable for many.

Most of the tracks are very long, but later in the album we get Wreathe, a shorter track just shy of four minutes. The vocals sung here are almost one hundred percent clean, despite the screaming during the last 20 seconds. Wreathe is a much more psychedelic approach to black metal. This is not a bad thing in the slightest, as I came to appreciate Balan’s interesting style of black metal at this point. The Ladder may not have made a huge Palace of Worms fan out of me, but the amount of elements found here, whether it be the melodic, touch of the atmospheric, or harsh nature of black metal, it makes for one thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Killing Songs :
In the Twilight Divide, Nightworld, Strange Constellations, Wreathe
Jared quoted 78 / 100
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