K. – Vocals
A. – Guitar/Bass
M. – Drums
1. Clue I: Animist
2. Clue II: Melencolia I
3. Clue III: Waiting for the Doom
4. Clue IV: I Aspire Like a Bird
5. Clue V: Altered State of Consciousness
6. Clue VI: Schizophrenia
7. Clue VII: Post Scriptum
Following up last year’s Нить, Russian post-black metal trio Epitimia (formed in 2008) have returned with their sixth full-length, Allusion, due for release on the 23rd of October. The album cover artwork is by illustrator Dasha Pliska, and there are guest vocal appearances from Vlada Chizhkova and I. (Alexander Kremnev).
An atmospheric opening kicks off ‘Clue I: Animist’, and K. uses conventional black metal vocals to deliver some surreal lyrics pertaining to subjects such as death, seasons, and the weather. The shrill vocals that suddenly emerge on ‘Clue II: Melencolia I’ will divide listeners… you will either love it or hate it. It is quite a sharp contrast to the lower black metal vocals on the opening number.
On listening to ‘Clue III: Waiting for the Doom’, it is apparent that the screeches are more effective when used intermittently than delivered in one section of the song. An example of this is on ‘Clue II: Melencolia I’, where the high shrieks deliver only a few lines at a time, broken up by musical interludes and lower-pitched screams.
Blast-beats kick ‘Clue IV: I Aspire Like a Bird’ off to a cacophonous start, with M.’s stick-work dominating the middle track’s overall sound. A peaceful interlude three minutes in paints an aural landscape, reflecting the title and lyrical content. The voice of I. intermingles with K.’s towards a beautiful and atmospheric ending.
The two choruses delivered by guest singer Vlada Chizhkova during ‘Clue V: Altered State of Consciousness’ wors as a wonderful counterpoint to K.’s vocals, making the fifth track a definite highlight among the songs on Allusion where vocal performance is concerned. Vlada’s dulcet singing adds soothing touch; it would have been interesting to also hear her voice elsewhere on the album.
Allusion’s only single to date ‘Clue VI: Schizophrenia’ begins much like track four, however, the song is more aggressive in its approach. The layered vocals and buzzing guitars heighten its often chaotic listening experience, driven by relentless pummeling drums.
A surprisingly upbeat but fitting melody introduces the last song ‘Clue VII: Post Scriptum’, with A.’s buzzing string-work reminiscent of their earlier ambient work at times. The mix of clean and screamed vocal styles here juxtapose each other successfully.
Exploring lyrical themes such as nature and inner conflict in their native tongue over immersive instrumentation, Epitimia conveys raw emotion, and a high level of atmosphere throughout Allusion. If you like black metal hordes in the vein of Drudkh, Grift (SWE), and Selbst, then this is a record not to be missed.