PERENNIAL ISOLATION – Portraits

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: https://www.non-serviam-records.com
Released: 2021
Buy Album: https://perennialisolation.bandcamp.com
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/perennialofficial/

Band line-up:

V. – Drums
A. – Vocals and bass
M. Guitars
I. – Guitars

 

Tracklisting:

1. The Fall Awakening.
2. Autumn Legacy Underlying the Cold’s Caress.
3. The Breathless Season Bane.
4. Unceasing Sorrows from The Vastness’ Scion.
5. To the Withering Womb.
6. Through Fire Upon Fire.
7. Embers in The Slumbering Threshold.
8. The Silent Solace.
9. Emanations from The Swallowed Twilight.

 

 

Review:

Perennial Isolation are a Spanish atmospheric black metal band on Non Serviam Records, who will be releasing their new album ‘Portraits’ on March 26th. A few months after forming in 2012, they released their debut EP ‘Uncertainty’ which made waves in the underground scene. In the following years, they released their LPs ‘Conviction of Voidness’ and ‘Astral Dream’, which were supported by shows across Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. In 2016 they released ‘Epiphanies of the Orphaned Light’, which was one of their most well received records. The act has just released the latest record’s first single ‘Autumn Legacy Underlying the Cold’s Caress’, which features Emily Low, also of Oubliette, and Jan Insomnic, also of Elbe, and Doomed. 

The band comment on the single: “Crank up your volume and spread the Autumnal rituals! We want to share our deepest admiration for all the elements which are part of the border area between Autumn and Winter: the reddish tint of the forest paths, the masterful mists, the hidden sun and the fragrance of the cold. The perfect mix between brutality, poetry, aggressiveness and emotionality. It is an honor to present this first piece through Non Serviam Records from our new album ‘Portraits’”.

This stuff certainly isn’t what most people would call typical ‘black metal.’ Rather interestingly, there are some strong modern melodic death metal and metalcore influences in all the instruments. Bands such as Unearth often spring to mind. Whilst the vocals are arguably quite BM and screamy, they have a bit of a hardcore feel to them in places. Other times, tempos get somewhat doomy, but rather than the slow parts being morbid and depressing, the guitars and independent bass parts create surprisingly sophisticated harmonies that are very pleasing to listen to. You will likely wonder what direction they will go, even though they are far from odd. Whilst they are clearly intellectual, they are powerful and that alone makes the band stand out.

That’s not to say the cleverness is reserved just for the slower, full band parts, even though such parts are perhaps a little stronger, because they are more rhythmically interesting and are easier to decipher without the chaos of the percussion. (Perhaps the band prioritised them in the same way death metal bands consider breakdowns highlights. Who knows). Actually, the cleverness never really stops, however the same kinds of moods do get a bit tiring after a while. Maybe it would be nice if the vocalist sung melodies instead of shouted almost all the time, but many if not all fans of the genres will be more than happy with the musicality already on offer. Having said all that positive stuff, the music is seriously lacking in catchy hooks. Again, that will probably be expected as this isn’t thrash or groove metal, but more memorable lines surely could only improve things.

In conclusion, this is smart stuff, as explained, but really the intelligence is limited to the chord progressions and voice leading. There is a reasonable amount of variety on offer, but arguably not enough. Particularly when it comes to mood which almost always has a dark kind of euphoria only extreme metal fans will truly understand. Sure the drumming is wild and tight, and the stamina the guy has is impressive, but who really thinks blast beats and such are genuinely musical? They may be fun, but why not be a bit more daring? This stuff is recommended, but the members still could have done more to make their work sound more original. Ending on a positive note, the tremolo picked guitars are super crisp, and when they get their own solo sections (which is perhaps sadly, rarely), they do kind of impress. Yep, just because they’re super crispy. 

Review by Simon Wiedemann

 

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