Chrome Waves – Chrome Waves (Gravedancer Records)

Tuesday, 26th March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

The shocking string of sublime summer releases continues unabated with this 26-minute monster. A supergroup of sorts featuring members of Nachtmystium, Wolvhammer, Twilight, and The Gates of Slumber, Chrome Waves on this EP, conjures a sound somewhat akin to a prettier Wolvhammer but truthfully taking pieces from all of the aforementioned bands. While not exactly making revolutionary music, the hyper-stylized black metal/post-rock hybrid is so well executed it simply does not matter when letting the album soak in. Chalk up another fantastic release to add to the ever-expanding USBM pantheon.

Album opener “Hearts Over Feathers” serves as an introduction in a variety of ways but most crucially as a thematic lesson for that which will follow: hushed and very soft melodic guitar open the proceedings, this gives way to mounting and intensifying layers of delay-drenched post-rock guitar pouring out beautiful and somber, the rest of the band eventually falling in behind it for support. Though black metal to the core, this is rarely dominated by continuous streams of empty blast beats as “Height of the Rifles” bursts forth with outright opening before falling into double bass riding cascading clean sections.

Variation is surprisingly constant both within and between all the songs on hand. “Light Behind A Shadow” follows a somewhat similar path until its midpoint, slowing down from a mid-paced grind into a mounting climb that conjures so lovingly the spirit of Coverge’s spectacular 2001 release Jane Doe.

Not entirely dissimilar from what Deafheaven is currently doing (though without the hell-bent focus on blasting), the band nonetheless is an amazing showcase of just how pretty black metal can be, especially when married with other genres that are naturally melodically inclined. Showcased in EP closer “Blackbird,” the lengthy and gorgeous set of closing solos make every statement the band needs to make. A mature album by musicians who know their trade and what they want to do, Chrome Waves is a consummate work of art, painfully brief but satisfying for every minute you give it. Fantastic.

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