Nine Covens – On the Dawning of the Light (Candlelight Records)Friday, 12th April 2013
Perhaps we stand on the brink of a new fad in the black metal realm: complete anonymity. Likely as a tool for enhancing ‘mystique’ in the construction of the band’s music/image (admittedly, it works kinda well for Deathspell Omega) or working to some esoteric integrity related issue for the sake of art (countless others). In any case it’s something that is popping up more and more and is one of the central features in this particular UK-based black metal group. The lack of member identity at times translates almost verbatim into a tangible lack of sound identity as well, but on a whole On The Dawning Of the Light is a serviceable foray into the black metal abyss.
Nine tracks of blasting and semi-atmospheric black metal that comes to be somewhere between the frosty absurdity of 1349 and the more atmospheric ends of supergroup Twilight. Whether “As Fire Consumes” or “The Fog Of Deceit”, the threading that binds is similar throughout, sonically dark ends bound by blastbeats and tremolo fury. That isn’t to say it’s bad, not at all, for as far as pure black metal releases go, this one is a fantastic example of how to reproduce the black metal sound exceedingly well.
Unfortunately, that’s as far as it gets, as the band never utilizes the sound in such a way to make their sound unique. The sound is clean and focused but it sounds as though a group of anonymous session musicians playing through a set of black metal ‘standards’, to draw from the pop world. The anonymous makeup of the band bleeds over into the sound unfortunately and leaves at times a very empty taste behind.