Thursday, September 11, 2014

With The End In Mind - Thresholder

Album: Thresholder
Label: Self-released
Limitation: 100 Copies
Country: US
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Year: 2013

I discovered With The End In Mind while recently browsing Bandcamp's usually disappointing round-up of recommended metal releases and was immediately and pleasantly surprised. The title track, 'Thresholder,' inevitably invites comparisons to Diadem Of Twelve Stars (if not outright worship of), with it's slow-building, post rock, instrumental beginning and reverential, nature-worshiping lyrics, all the way to the lovely female fronted vocals chanted towards the ending of the song. The difference, however, between With The End In Mind and other bands of this ilk is that, although they wear their influences proudly on their sleeve, they also know how to compose an extremely strong song, not just rehash the same old ingredients from Wolves' classic debut full-length, and sole member Alex F is a more than competent enough musician to pull it off. Track two, 'The Pantheon Arches In All Directions,' is a beautiful, atmospheric instrumental that fades into the ending of 'Thresholder' and prepares us for the tour-de-force that is the album's final track, 'True Weight of the Things We Must Carry.' This track starts heavy and stays heavy throughout most of the duration of its almost nine minute run-time, even incorporating some doom-styled vocals as opposed to just the standard black metal shrieks, leading into a highly cathartic tremolo-picked build-up that is, to me, the highlight of the whole EP. Besides being just a lovely album, those who opt for the physical cassette are treated to a lovingly hand painted gold cardstock insert, as well as a live recording of a solo performance in the band's home town of Olympia, Washington and a personalized note with hand-drawn sigil. Definitely a band to keep an eye on. Hail Cascadia!