Pestilential Shadows – Ephemeral (Séance Records)Thursday, 13th November 2014
This year’s Halloween was disappointedly mellow, too quiet, not enough chaos, very few freaks, hardly any tricks. But, plenty of treats! As much as I love chocolate, I’d say the best treat of all was an album titled Ephemeral. On October 31st, night of the dead, Australian black metallers Pestilential Shadows unfurled a haunting darkness upon the world with the release of their fifth full-length album and their most spine-chilling, cold and creepy work yet.
With constant eeriness, cold tones and fiery passion, Pestilential Shadows created a soul-enrapturing spell of suicidal depressive black war metal full of hallow screams and harrowing instruments. Ethereal spirits rise as funereal darkness falls throughout all seven songs. “Fragments” is one fine example, grim with melancholic melodies and aggressive with a storming series of rapid riffs. “Hymn of Isolation and Suicide” is pretty self-explanatory – an isolating tune of consolidating DSBM. The title track, “Ephemeral,” is a psychedelic, bleak, smooth-moving piece that’s uplifting in all its gloom.
I love this album but it was a challenge to complete the review because every time I sat down to listen and write, I fell asleep into a trance where my mind’s taunted by twisted dreams and haunted by ghostly terrors, however, that’s just another reason to love it. The darkness within is ever so soothing. I rated this more on how it touches the soul than how it sounds to the ear, both sensations of which are more than appeasing for those who are taken away by dismal, dense and dark music.
A few notes on the album cover – first of all, an incredible illustration and very alluring. Black/grey/white sketch of a decayed skeleton man with a coffin tied to his back and riding a decrepit hoarse with snakes coiled around its hooves. It matches wonderfully with the hazy blood-red frame and old-school black metal logo. The details are astounding. The best part, it was done by Pestilential Shadows’ main-man Luke Mills (a.k.a. Balam and Scourge) – vocalist, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist as well as a freehand tattoo artist.
Many might have noticed that they have no official site and their Facebook biography says only a few words: Plague. Decay. Graveyard Dirt. Curses. What else needs to be said? Indeed, Pestilential Shadows conjure luscious plagues, create beautiful forms of decay, dig in the finest graveyard dirt and send out magnificent curses. All of Pestilential Shadows’ works are great but Ephemeral is exceptionally fantastic.