Band: Old Growth
Label: Supreme Chaos Records
Release date: 18 December 2020
Format reviewed: High-Quality Digital Promo
Old Growth is a one person creation, being Anamist, who has taken atmospheric, black metal from the heart of nature. Building this album on themes of going to nature, letting dirt run through your fingers, immersing yourself in shade of trees, to disappear, and running to the river to let the cold water freeze your legs and feet as you shiver and appreciate. To put your hands out and have nature comfort you, as a viable connection that heals. This album takes you there and lets you breathe.
The first track, “Old Growth”, takes you immediately on highs of simplicity of melodies, you envision, a clearing in the forest, which is overtaken by sun, little plants swaying and reaching for the rays; then the vocal hits you with the power of fury and sadness. The play of those vocals and the simple melodies work. Headbanging a rhythm in your bloodstream. Riffs come in strong and relentless to a dying off to more of the melodies filled with angst and beauty.
“Oakenheart”, the second track, the cold, bleak wind sound is soft and those who know cold, know this is deadly. Soft, simple guitar riffs to pick up in intensity, still carrying notes of the bleak emotional emptiness. The shift to the black metal riffing and furious screamed vocal is intense. This takes every hard, sad, ugly feeling you have and lets you scream it. For those who love the extreme intensity of vocal, with emotion, this voice has it. You feel as you can literally scream right along with it.
“Red Clouds”, the third track, acoustic, easy beginning, with keyboards building atmosphere. Cymbals adding a shivering effect, to that edgy guitar riff, continuing building. This, with a vocal taken from the pain of some event, the rage and sadness palpable. Also, the reaching and touching of nature are here, with the lifting, lilting guitar. But oh my, the power expended on the vocal and crashing drums, utterly keep you in a place of what can come next, and then it does and you are not disappointed.
The fourth track, “The Seedling”, if this doesn’t immerse you in nature, in the ability of growth found in water and soil, I can’t think of a more succinct image than that of a seedling displaying the wonder of growth. Furious vocals come in, again, bludgeoning the ground and making it ripple with the energy. Slow, almost a doomy sound is introduced now, oppressive and heavy. It works in counterpoint to the black metal speed riffs, a contrast, that carries weight against the vocal. In no way undermining it, but giving the vocal something to play against.
Five is “Queen of the Woodland Realms”, making me think of “The Hobbit” in his journey and meeting a powerful elf, the queen. So beautifully atmospheric. Letting you envision a mountain range through a thicket of protective trees. Drowning atmospheric vocal that again lets you go to a place of complete immersion into nature, being alone with that, and hearing this in your mind. You’d be on your knees in dirt or fixated on the play of shadow and sun off of the tall coniferous trees.
The atmosphere has done right, with the teeth of riffs and angst of a vocal to match in this track. “Call of the Night Spirit” is the sixth track, more of the cold, wind blowing effect, with slow, definitive guitar riffs. An interlude, of beautiful atmosphere. Sadness in the tone, melancholic, and ending with a subtle scratching sound.
The seventh track is “Altar of Wisdom”, which is already deep in melody, thoughtful, giving, and taking, much like an exchange of knowledge. Those amazing vocals crash in and extend the questions and answers, riffs and drums are force and energy in this. Further in the drum pattern changes, a tribal feeling, a primal emotion of what are we doing here, what is our learning leading to. Very deep in the emotion of the vocal, with powerful riffs and drums exploding. These last final riffs are so fucking brutal, not a gentle end to this last track.
I think “Mossweaver” was missed on my top 10 for AOTY because this would be an album I’d choose again and again. I give so much credit to one person bands, for creating and blending all the sounds with such skill, and “Old Growth” does that. Do some of the tracks seem repetitive? Yes, some stick to the prescribed recipe shall we say, that has borne success. On the other hand, I see such depth of sound in this album, that the repetitive didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the album as a whole. I’d listen to this on repeat and enjoy. I give an 8/10 Metal Marie
8/10 To Greatness and Glory!
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.**