(Fresh off an NCS co-sponsored UK tour with his band Bloodguard, NCS writer Andy Synn returns to these pages with his review of a remarkable EP by Bristol’s Rosicrucian.)
It’s always a pleasure to encounter music where form is so perfectly suited to function. In this case, Rosicrucian’s flowing, tide-driven take on post-black metal dynamics is described and elucidated perfectly by the artwork and the song titles, which fit effortlessly into the musical aesthetic as a whole, enhancing the experience of the listener. The fit is seamless and seemingly effortless, the art adding whole dimensions to the music as an experience.
The slow-building tension of “Beneath The Waves” is the sound of a storm gathering on the horizon, whose furious winds and explosive cloud-bursts of emotion sweep down upon the listener with elemental force. Torrents of blasting, storm-driven drumming meld with instances of gleaming ambience, an azure haze which paints the song with a deep shade of existential despair.
The ringing coda of “Lest We Forget” is a thing of crystalline clarity and beauty, its skeletal spectre reduced to its starkest bones by the weight of ages, its remains exhumed by the passage of time to reveal both the beauty and brutality of our finite existence. Exposed to the merciless elements, we are stripped bare by the scathing winds of tumultuous, blackened fury which carry these notes of striking melody with vibrant, unflinching power. (more after the jump . . .)
Shafts of mercurial light pierce the dense gloom of “Ruin”, whose cataclysmic blasting and juddering riffage evokes the sound of the untamed ocean, wild and unforgiving, its roiling waters building monolithic silhouettes of monstrous power before descending into a calm, mirror-like sheen, stranding the listener in a boundless emptiness, through which echo the strains of a haunting, ethereal siren song.
Storm winds blow and tidal tantrums shake throughout the course of “Falsifier”, the tortured animalistic vocals, stripped down to their basic, raw humanity giving voice to the pain of souls lost upon an endless ocean, a voyage of the damned and deranged. In the eye of this storm of emotions there is a moment of soothing calm, where full and evocative atmospherics take hold and a single, pure voice shatters the pervasive gloom, if only for a moment.
A deep-rooted sense of nihilistic despair fuels the frenzied, blast-laden portions “Clarity”, as of a man cast adrift, alone and without hope of salvation, railing against the cruel and unfeeling god which would leave him so abandoned. This frenzy is matched by the unfathomed depths of sorrow expressed in the desolate vocals, whose clear, ringing tones summon forth a weaving and electrifying solo to ignite the growing dark with effervescent glory. The song’s conclusion is an achingly poignant melding of loss and rage, striving against the capricious cruelties of fate that will, inevitably, leave us all lost and alone.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rosicrucian can be found on Facebook at this location. Beneath the Waves is available for sale online, either directly from the band [rosicrucian.bigcartel.com] or from distros such as Todestrieb and Under The Dark Soil. Click the “Songs” tab below and check out the music (you’ll be glad you did):