BLACK HOWLING "Return Of Primordial Stillness" Digipak CD
One of the oldest and most prolific bands in the Portuguese black metal underground, Black Howling have built up a staggering body of work of unparalleled anguish and misery. By no means strictly depressive suicidal black metal, the duo's aesthetic often runs parallel to depressive black metal but fortunately evades all the usual cliches of such. More importantly, Black Howling's commitment to an unapologetically raw sound field yet suffusing that misery and anguish with a remarkably accomplished melodicism has largely shaped the modern Portuguese black metal paradigm that has received so much international fervour in recent years. Now, after three years of silence, Black Howling return with "Return of Primordial Stillness", a compact-yet-massive distillation of their enduring aesthetic. Comprising four tracks in an epic 40 minutes, "Return of Primordial Stillness" indeed sounds primordial and indeed invokes a crypt-like stillness, but there's so much more going on here. The record is bookended by two mostly instrumental tracks, with the two central compositions - "Celestial Syntropy" and "Celestial Entropy," which are 14 minutes and 16 minutes, respectively - canvassing a wide sonic landscape, howling and desperate and yet strangely triumphant and even perversely soothing, such is their catharsis sought. However, this is all black metal through and through, undiluted and uncompromising; it's just that Black Howling possess a profound understanding of it and are thusly able to shape it in dazzlingly malodorous ways. Simply put, if you aren't mesmerized by the conjurings contained within, then perhaps black metal isn't for you... Though their output has slowed in recent years, each Black Howling recording is a stained treasure unto itself. When their next recording shall reveal itself, no one knows but then, but hereby witness their "Return of Primordial Stillness".