Astral Path – An Oath To The Void (2016, Avantgarde Music)
The Canadian duo of Justin Bourdeau (vocals, guitar, drums) and Ana Dujakovic (bass, synth) of Astral Path recently released their debut album titled An Oath To The Void. Sometimes when a new band is formed and they release a new album we critics tend to say made up sentences like this is a promising first album and other banalities of the genre.
Showing a strong sense for atmospheres and ambient, the music is paired with shoegaze or blackgaze, I guess this is a newly merged word for Black Metal and Shoegazing, the production is revealing of the goal here. We have a guitar that is the locomotive of the music and its sweeps and moods are making those five songs long triptychs of inspired American Black Metal.
As aforementioned, the use of shoegazing as an atmospheric element may or may not please fans of Black Metal. In fact, I already hear purists calling it a hipster release just like the naysayers of let’s say Deafheaven per se. There are not that many parallels between both bands but I would prefer to compare Astral Path’s album to Fuath debut album I if I had to. Both have subtle melodies and complex songwriting paired with an atmosphere that fills the space just like the good old wall of sound.
Starting with ‘’Maroon Sea’’ that has a long overture I was thinking to myself : Not another atmospheric pompous piece of everything that is trendy in Metal blended together. Well I could not be more wrong. Once the sweeping clean guitars starts we get to the blast beats and the song evolve in its own melancholy. Fans of Wolves In The Throne Room will find something here and the song ‘’An Oath To The Void’’ is one of the best atmospheric Metal songs of 2016 so far.
I tend to think that the music we were listening to in our teenage years have left an incredible impact on ourselves. It made for us a permanent print of a time where everything was changing and we were on a search about life and ourselves. For me, Black Metal was the central soundtrack of my youth. I would listen to a lot of Second Wave Black Metal and one of my favorite album was Burzum’s Hvis Lysett Tar Oss. Which, shitty politics and extremism apart, I think is a masterpiece of the Black Metal genre because it was made with elements not always coming out from the genre only. An Oath To The Void has a quality that comes close to what was achieved on the record by the infamous Count Grishnack. Astral Path has released an album that is showing control and mastery from its creators. Already, this album has left a print in my memory and I will listen to it a lot.