Blackbriar – Our Mortal Remains (Self-Released)

Sunday, 22nd December 2019
Rating: 9/10

Coming back with their third EP in three years, Blackbriar are one of a handful of bands that have been able to establish their own unique sound within the symphonic metal genre and really run with it. Everything about Blackbriar continues to give off those magical, fairytale vibes and Our Mortal Remains sees them grow their sound into something bigger, yet still full of wonder.

The first thing that really jumps out about Our Mortal Remains is the orchestrations and sound quality (building further upon the improvements heard on We’d Rather Burn). With the gothic atmosphere the band has thrived on, an even larger sound and more elaborate orchestrations could have backfired by going too far over the top, but it’s thankfully the opposite effect. Instead, there’s the same sense of drama and urgency to be found on a song like “Mortal Remains” but it feels near-cinematic in scope. “Beautiful Delirium” uses this to its advantage too – from a dreamy and quiet opening that slowly builds to the chorus, in which then soaks the listener in a rich gothic vibe, with driving guitars and sweeping arrangements. Given the fairytale nature and soundscape, the storytelling element seems at its peak as well, with the music and vocals fusing into something that feels like it could have come out of a gothic-themed storybook. The choruses simply wrap you up in their intensity and charm, of which “Madwoman in the Attic” seems the best example – Zora’s vocals are playful and soaring at the same time, augmenting a track that feels inviting yet haunting and mysterious. The EP closes with an orchestral version of “Until Eternity,” which fits right in line with the other cuts – a testament to where the band has started from and what they have now achieved.

Blackbriar continue to take the listener on a unique journey into gothic and fairytale landscapes with Our Mortal Remains. Continued improvements to songwriting and orchestrations have allowed them to really present their strongest set of songs to date, crafting intoxicating tracks that lure you in and demand to be listened to over and over again. With only three EPs, they’ve designed a sound that is instantly recognizable and distinct, a sign that they are onto something that truly resonates.

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