American atmospheric black metallers Ashbringer return after last year’s stunning ‘Vacant’ with the follow up, ‘Yūgen’, remarkably quickly. One of these bands that follow mighty examples like Drudkh and Panopticon to bring emotive, natural black metal epics to the masses, Ashbringer look to be a new, glimmering star amongst the blackness.
Opener ‘Solace’ is exactly what you’re looking for in an atmospheric black metal song. It builds, swelling with emotive string work and a lonely melody, before soaring into the night sky with soaring temolo riffage and a rasping scream. Ashbringer weave folk melodies into each piece, giving this record a very traditional, olden feel about it. Like a message from a day long since dead, where nature ruled us with its primal power and we ebbed and flowed to it. ‘Oceans Apart’ is a melancholic masterpiece, with many evocative acoustic moments.
The enormity of ‘Yūgen’ hits you on the second or third listen, when each delicate moment and raw emotional black metal collide and meld together into a complex and yet strangely beautiful whole. The glorious ‘Celestial Infancy’, or the touching bleakness of ‘Glowing Embers, Dying Fire’ are two highlights within a record that is made almost solely of them. I can’t wait for those misty winter mornings to return for this album to take its place perfectly.