Ambient black metallers Psalms hail from England, and their ‘Via Ad Lucem’ EP is 25 minutes of haunting ambience and black metal rawness. Released on Winterblast Halls, a place of excellent black metal, Psalms is a mysterious entity.
Opener ‘Kudzu’ and its haunting piano sets the stage for the misery and coldness to come. Acoustic guitar winds its way into the groaning ‘Tenebras’, which rasps from a place bleak and cold. Eerie acoustics settle in to ramp up the atmospherics, and it’s very effective. ‘Vivir’ has more delicate acoustic guitar that has more than a touch of ‘Damnation’ era Opeth about it, which is awesome in itself. It’s so very different from anything you’d normally hear from black metal bands, even those with a big ambient influence.
Closer and title track ‘Via Ad Lucem’ is the longest track here, and it is a menacing slice of hypnotic black metal. The vocals are throat shredding, and the buzzing guitar tone is classic Darkthrone. But it builds to a stunning crescendo, where guitars, ghostly backing vocals and a howling solo merge into a moment of genuine glacial beauty. Psalms have created an almost perfect mix of ambient bliss and razor sharp black metal. The fact that you can find this one Bandcamp for free makes it a steal!