Blackbraid takes listeners on a captivating and haunting musical journey with its newest album, Blackbraid II, inspired by the depths of the Adirondack wilderness. The Indigenous Black metal band combines folk-like sounds, rock-infused tracks and ethereal melodies to create a story that seemingly continues from its previous album, Blackbraid I.
Pretty surreal to see Blackbraid II charting considering this time last year I had yet to release my first album. Rest assured this is just the beginning, more exciting news on the way very soon, in the meantime here is my current billboard placing after week one!
– Sgah’gahsowáh, Blackbraid frontman
“Autumnal Hearts Ablaze” sets the tone for the album with its gentle guitar strumming and minor key. The folk-like sound brings a sense of nostalgia and introspection, perfectly capturing the essence of autumn. As the acoustic arrangements grow more complex, incorporating variations of plucking and different playing techniques, the listener is drawn deeper into the melodies, feeling their resonance within their own hearts.
Transitioning into “The Spirit Returns,” the album takes a darker turn. Static fills the air, creating an unsettling backdrop for the barely audible whispers that seem to creep from the depths. This track is both creepy and cathartic, allowing the listener to confront their fears and delve into the hidden recesses of their psyche. The juxtaposition of the unsettling atmosphere with moments of release makes it a truly captivating experience.
“The Wolf That Guides the Hunters Hand” begins with an animal howl, immediately evoking a sense of urgency and movement. The driving rhythm of the drums propels the listener forward as if running through a dense forest. The alternating moments of slow interludes and whispered vocals add intrigue, making the listener feel like they are chasing or being pursued. The track keeps the excitement alive, leaving the listener breathless.
As the album progresses, “Spells of Moon and Earth” introduces a mellow and ethereal ambiance. The old flute sound resonates with simplicity, transporting listeners to a realm of fantasy. The melodies conjure images of moonlit landscapes and ancient rituals, while the gentle plucking chords create a sense of serenity and wonder. It’s a track that invites listeners to close their eyes and embark on a magical journey.
“Moss Covered Bones on the Altar of the Moon” takes a departure from the acoustic realm and plunges into an electric, raw sound. The strumming is consistent and steady, providing a driving force that carries the listener through the song. As the shouted vocals pierce through the instrumentation, the energy intensifies. Clocking in at 13 minutes, it’s an epic and immersive track that demands the listener’s undivided attention.
And as the night grows still
And creeping shadows grow
I offer up my blood
To call the spirits home
Beneath the fields of stars
– “Moss Covered Bones on the Altar of the Moon”
“A Song of Death on Winds of Dawn” captivates with its epic introduction. The electric guitar melody weaves a tale of its own, creating a captivating and melodic centerpiece. The tempo and mood shift throughout the track, surprising the listener and keeping them engaged. The variations in the guitar’s melody add depth and complexity, showcasing the musicians’ skill and artistry.
“Celestial Passage” embraces the vastness of the celestial realm. Slow plucking chords intertwine with a low and hollow flute, creating a sense of infinite space. It’s a track that encourages listeners to gaze at the starry sky and contemplate the wonders of the universe. The delicate interplay of instruments evokes a sense of awe and reverence, leaving the listener in a state of contemplation.
“Twilight Hymn of Ancient Blood” changes the mood yet again, offering a different sonic landscape. The low strumming and beating create an anticipation that slowly builds up, preparing the listener for a dramatic tempo change. The song’s climax is satisfyingly intense, offering a gripping experience. It’s a testament to the album’s ability to keep the audience guessing and engaged.
“Sadness and the Passage of Time and Memory” brings a soulful and folk-like quality to the album. The acoustic instrumental takes center stage, creating an intimate and introspective atmosphere. Layer by layer, different sounds are added, creating a rich tapestry of emotions. The shifting tempos mirror the ebb and flow of sadness, time and memory, making it a deeply personal and evocative track.
Finally, “A Fine Day to Die” closes the album on a strong note. Contrary to its title, the song exudes strength and resilience. It showcases the culmination of the album’s journey, wrapping it up with a sense of resolution and acceptance. The instrumentation is powerful, carrying the listener through an array of emotions, ultimately leaving them in awe of the artistry displayed throughout the album.
Blackbraid takes listeners on a profound and haunting musical odyssey. With its diverse range of styles and moods, it immerses the audience, from the folk-like introspection to the rock-infused energy and ethereal soundscapes. The ban will be celebrating their album release on August 12 at 1720 in Los Angeles, before heading to MIDGARDSBLOT in Norway. Check out tickets on their official website and their discography on Spotify.