Review: Chiral – Snow//Heritage (EP)

Posted: February 25, 2016 in Reviews
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If you follow the Killchain, you’ll know that we are big fans of Italian atmospheric black metallers Chiral. The work crafted on each of the releases, from debut demo ‘Winter Eternal, through the scathing ‘Abisso’ into the pastoral shades of ‘Where Mountains Pierce the Nightsky’ and the ghostly ‘Night Sky’. Each piece has evolved the sound, and it is an evolution that almost mirrors the change of Alcest from black metal into atmospheric powerhouse. New EP, ‘Snow//Heritage’ has a lot to live up to… It’s out March 22nd.

‘Snow//Heritage’ opens with a Woman is the Earth cover, ‘Sage Moon’, which is a piece that oozes a blackened grandeur. It is enthralling in its bleak simplicity, a torrent of vintage black metal riffs pour over a gloomy place, and does justice to the original. The warm acoustics of ‘Now Her Weeping’ is something that Chiral have done before and done well. There’s little thats particularly ‘evil’ or ‘dark’ about it, but there’s a beautiful wistfulness about it that really gives it that melancholic feeling. It’s an obvious tribute to the pagan folk that help to inspire the work that Chiral do.

The gloom continues on the delicate ‘Nowhere the Kingdom Fell’, which bleeds into the frosty ‘Whiteness’, a song that has a huge amount of variety, scale and most important for me, emotional investment. Each haunting chord, every thunderous blastbeast, every buzzing tremolo riff is designed to elicit a response from you, and by Thor it does. It is very hypnotic, with the dense thrumming of the riffs overlaid with murky choral vocals and epic ambience.

Another hit from Chiral for me. For each release, the song writing becomes more complex, the atmospheres grow more layered and the black metal fades a little. Maybe Chiral will leave it behind altogether, or re-embrace it on their next release. Whichever they decide, the talent for penning melancholic, stirring pieces of art will remain, and Chiral will remain essential in the atmospheric black metal wave we are currently experiencing.

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