Embers is a grouping of people from Oakland California and while most of what their area is known for is being dangerous hip hop tends to be the best known export of the city. Meanwhile in the shadows Embers have built something that may be more reminiscent of their hometown. A four piece that, at least on recordings, includes more than a few auxiliary instruments including viola and piano. While, at one time, the inclusion of these instruments would seem strange it now seem incredibly normal in black metal to include these things to help create atmosphere. Unfortunately this too can be taken too far (I'm looking at you Dimmu Borgir).
The band play with atmosphere throughout their work not relying on the classical instruments but rather on the drone and sludge that seems to permeate their overall sound. This helps to make the band sound much nastier than their classical instrument using counterparts. The basis of Embers' sound is simple on its own but the band uses these simple pieces to build an encompassing whole.
After a short introduction things get off the a nasty start with the 10 minute "Eucharist". This song exemplifies the bands overall style. Changing from a blackened tone to sludgy crawl on a dime to make something truly nasty sounding. All of this gets capped off beautifully by classical piano coda. This makes for a well rounded song with a strong structure. This acts the bands hallmark each bit of this structure, along with drones and a few other tricks, make face time in each song.
The band play on their strengths throughout the recording. The beefy sounding recording only helps to prove how talented this band is. Everything is made to be clear and completely listenable without ever losing its edge. The truly interesting piece of the band is the drummer. The tempos range throughout at times involving a strong martial rhythm rather than relying solely on blast beats. This makes for a record that has layers allowing the listener to truly delve into the songs and feel a part of.
With all of the talk of up and coming black metal bands getting attention from non metal sources many bands from the underground get forgotten. While Liturgy and others have garnered notice for being different and possibly an abnormality in their style bands such as Embers have been working hard to build their own sound with little notice. This benefits those who are truly interested in hearing something different within the black metal genre. While the band is definitely a black metal band first and foremost their additions to the style allow them to stick out and be their own band.
8.6 / 10
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