Many people who are not into metal write off the genre as “just noise” – an unfair description of a multi-faceted genre encompassing a myriad of very different sounding sub-genres. However, you would be forgiven for thinking that Golden Ashes’ second album is exactly that, “just noise,” on first listen.
However, this is not a record to be listened to once but multiple times. On first listen, it all feels too discordant, too raw, too lo-fi. You are simply hit with a wall of blaring layered synths, some sounding like synths, some like Black Metal riffage, and some like blistering blast beats. Only adding to this hellish soundscape is indecipherable yelping BM vocals which initially seem annoyingly low in the mix.
After a couple of listens, though, the album starts to creep under your skin. You begin to notice that amongst this violent wall of synths, there is more than just noise. There is some quality black metal going on here as well as some moments of real beauty. A particular example is the opening to penultimate track Black Mouths Murmur Black Prayers, which provides a blissed-out breather to the chaotic cacophony which precedes it, albeit one that only lasts 25 seconds.
Part of what might be off-putting at first is the curious clash of sounds. Ambient and black metal hardly seem natural bedfellows after all. And that is how it feels – like the music is battling against itself as it goes at it like the hammers of hell but with a layer of (almost) chilled-out atmospherics on top.
Of course, upturning audience expectations are par for the course for the prolific Maurice De Jong (better known as Mories from Gnaw Their Tongues), who has a reputation for pushing black metal in new and interesting directions. And this is far from his most experimental effort. In fact, overall, this is a very stripped back, bare-bones affair and none the worse for it.
Curiously despite the album having a very short run time (35 minutes), it feels much longer. The reason for this probably lies in the fact that the LP feels less like a set of songs and more like one extended suite of music. It turns out this is perhaps the perfect length for the album. It would become repetitive and wearing if it much exceeded this time frame.
As it stands though In The Lubrigious Silence of Eternal Night is a satisfying, if not brilliant, slab of atmospheric/synth led black metal which rewards repeat listens.