‘What did the music mean to you?’ asks a mysterious sample at the beginning of Eternal Unrest. ‘I don’t know… it is full of emotion, but it’s not happy.’
Indeed, the drama here never spills into overwrought rage or melancholia. As the film-score texture of The Night Winds Of Avila spills on to the chaos of Into Wooded Hollow it feels like the soundtrack to some epic, ethereal adventure. Moon Isabelline is a complex classical piano elegy for some complex heroine, while the Silent Passing ebbs with tragedy, but its avant-garde folky urgency keeps pressing on. Dual nine-minute-plus epics Lucille’s Gate and Empyreal Nightsky draw proceedings to an incredible close, the former touching on Metallica and Emperor at their most heroic before the latter drifts off into glassy post-rock with swelling orchestral synths counterpointed by softly pressed keys and plucked strings.
There are no bangers here, obviously, but it’s an utterly compelling bigger picture. Here’s hoping we don’t wait so long for the second half.
For Fans Of: Ulver, Opeth, Agalloch
Bellum I is out now via Blood Music.