When band is billed as experimental, were it in any genre, it usually means that they have tried to include as many things from other genres as possible as well as pointless synths/noises into their music. Usually this leaves one to conclude 'Yes, it's different but it is still medicore and boring.' After my disappointment with Finnish Oranssi Pazuzu I was quite averse of the idea of ordering an LP with a re-release of past EP and an unreleased recording by Finnish Jumalhämärä, who is usually billed as avant-garde or experimental black metal. Despite my slight aversion, I was impressed by their song 'Discover the Pigtail' on a Primitive Hammer compilation.
Slaughter The Messenger EP
This was the primary reason I bought this LP. To my surprise the EP is really good work where the experimentation emphasizes the music and doesn't feel off or needless. The album starts with sounds recorded somewhere where is lot of people and children, a park or a grocery store maybe. From there onwards the listener is taken into the depths of music by atmosphere that constantly becomes more opressive as the EP proceeds. While the EP starts with fairly standard black metal fare it quickly devolves, mutates and brings in new elements, new melodies and new sounds. For me it is impossible to think this as three different tracks because they flow into each other and would probably be worse off if seperated from the whole.
The quite clean production fits the EP well. With the kind of music Jumalhämärä is playing one needs to hear every sound they deliver and having a muddy or otherwise lofi production would reduce the atmosphere and impact of the music.
Initiated into Trivialities
This is more of an dark ambient affair than black metal work. While there is some guitars on the recording they function more as another instrument in an ambient work rather than playing conventional riffs like in a metal track. The track is a good companion piece to the Slaughter The Messenger EP, working almost as outro to it. The track starts with dark atmosphere but moves towards a lighter, less opressive tone, giving a sense of weight lifting from ones shoulders. Clocking only at 9 minutes the track manages to feel much longer than it actually is. While sometimes this might be a bad thing, here it works in favour of the music.
The production of this piece is cavernous, highly drenched in reverb. While this make some sounds hard to differentiate from each other it works in favour of the atmosphere of the record. It brings out the mood of the recording better than unreverbed, unechoed production ever could.
The cover artwork is nice looking but somewhat confusing. While there is an insert with photos that fit the atmosphere of the music, I am left to wonder what frogs or flys have to do with the music. The lyrics printed on the insert aren't much of a help as they are very abstract and cryptic, giving you no real clue or direction as of what the songs might be about.
On the whole, the album is one of the better experimental black metal records. It stands repeated listens and is thought out effort. While I have no idea what the band is actually about the atmosphere and music is good enough to warrant buying this LP. Recommended to people interested in experimental black metal.