Bloodbark - Bonebranches
Northern Silence Productions
Atmospheric Black Metal
3 songs (39' 52")
Release year: 2018
Northern Silence
Reviewed by Andy

In true black metal tradition, anonymous newcomers Bloodbark identify neither themselves nor their country of origin, hinting coyly that the band is composed of established names that prefer to let the music speak for itself. In today's cynical age, it's rather difficult to take that sort of thing with a straight face. But the band's debut EP, Bonebranches, is not too bad, a pretty little trio of downtempo atmospheric BM tunes mixed carefully with modern attention to studio quality.

At its best, it invokes an introspective, melancholy atmosphere full of slowly picked guitars, hollow tremolos and soaring keyboards. At its worst, it becomes annoyingly repetitive. As Wolves is a clear example of the latter tendency, with spoken-word poetry showing up between the two or three chord patterns that are played over and over, reminiscent of Agalloch in their final years after they ran out of ideas. The other two songs are better; Eyeless Winter is a slow, crunching emo-black tune of the Imperial Decadenz school, while Ferns and Roads, the best of the three, starts out quiet and unassuming, but ramps up to some proper speed and intricacy shortly thereafter.

This is quite decent except for the last track. Not the most exciting first EP I've ever come across, but if the band gets their proclivity for repetition under control, they may become a force to be reckoned with in the ABM world.

Killing Songs :
Ferns and Roads
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