Jun 272014

(Andy Synn delivers another installment of his irregular series of album reviews in haiku. Two more reviews come after the jump. With music, of course.)

So it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these columns, as my productivity on NCS has been particularly dire recently. While I’m working to correct that though, I thought I might as well use the format of this particular column to try and catch up on a few things we’ve missed out on.

As part of that I’ve decided to shake things up slightly, and give each of these albums a small introduction preceding each haiku. It’s a good time to bring it in, too, as each of these albums fits vaguely under the “Post/Atmospheric Black Metal” banner, so are all somewhat disparately united under a common theme, despite all hailing from different countries around the globe.

Anyway, enough of that blather, on to the poetry! (that sounded way more metal in my head)


A Post/Ambient Black Metal three-piece from San Francisco, Ion released their self-titled debut in April this year and I was immediately blown away. This is a brilliant, mesmerising album of blackened blast beats and gleaming celestial melody, based around a vibrant core of feverish riffs and soaring leads, that gets better and better with each listen. It completely renews my faith in this style of music every time I hear it.


Pure post-black magic

Just when you think that you’re out

They pull you back in










Chinese quartet Deep Mountains also released their debut full-length Lake of Solace in April this year, though I only stumbled across it very recently. Singing entirely in their native language, the band produce a scintillating brand of Atmospheric Black Metal that sounds very much like an esoteric and strikingly distinctive individual take on early Agalloch, melding Western and Eastern influences with sublime grace and confidence.


Beautiful and bold.

Music that conquers mountains

And touches the sky










Progressively inclined Post/Atmospheric Black Metal from the UK, Arx Atrata is a one-man project that admirably avoids the twin pitfalls of the solo Black Metal endeavour, being neither too self-defeatingly necro, nor unnervingly obsessed with early Ulver, for its own good. Instead Oblivion (released right at the tail-end of last year) is an album which makes much more creative use of gloom-shrouded melody and melancholy, coming across as a much bleaker and doomier cousin to Oak Pantheon at their best.


Doomy, dismal, dark

Gloomy, grandiose, graceful

Beautifully bleak





  1. I love the new album from Deep Mountains. It’s so beautiful.

  2. Ion pulls you in alright… good stuff!

  3. It all looks and sounds really interesting! I guess I’ll have some albums to listen in the upcoming time 🙂

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