Another band that German label Northern Silence has put me onto, The Flight of Sleipnir, so named for Odin’s famed eight-legged horse, has quickly become one of my new favorite bands after coming across their new release “Essence of Nine.” Put out on the label’s Doom division, Eyes Like Snow, the Denver-based duo’s mix of Doom, Folk, Psychedelic, Vintage, and Experimental metal is a thoughtful, melancholic, and fresh approach to a genre saturated with mediocrity in recent memory.
“Essence of Nine” begins with Transcendence, a melodic, bruising start to the album filled with down tuned guitar, acoustics, smooth solos, and both black metal style and clean vocals. The song establishes an energy and tone for the rest of the album that is both mournful and angry, artfully interspersing sad and contemplative elements with crushing and fuzzed out doom. Upon This Path We Tread and A Thousand Stones continue in this vein before the instrumental As the Ashes Rise, a melancholic and beautiful midway break in the album.
Though the rest of the album is as equally praiseworthy, perhaps the highlight of the album is the final track, The Serpent Ring. Fuzzy, grungy guitars open the song before breaking to soft ominous singing that soon gives way to doom-laden guitars and blackened, raspy vocals. The slow, restrained rhythmic chugging at the end, overlaid with more black metal-esque vocals, is one of the more satisfying pieces of metal I have heard in some time. The end of the song achieves a finality that leaves no question as to whether it will be the last track on the album, bringing the sadness, frustration, and rage that intermixes across the album’s eight tracks to a crashing close.
The Flight of Sleipnir was another pleasant surprise, along with Heretoir and Soror Dolorosa, to come from Northern Silence. The label’s eye for talent is keen and encompasses a great variety of styles, from cold wave to black metal, and has a knack for picking out acts that distinguish themselves from their peers. The Flight of Sleipnir fit nicely within the label’s collection. More than just crushing, noisy, sludgy doom metal, The Flight of Sleipnir artfully brings ethereal melodies and experimentation to doom and deserves praise for doing so.
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