Label: Woodcut Records
“No fancy dresses, no professionalism, no futile gimmicks. Only pure black metal!” Thus reads the press release for Aura Of Suffering, the first full-length offering from Finnish band Perdition Winds. And you know what? It’s hard to disagree with that assessment. The band present their music on its own terms, without any distractions or theatrics, meaning that the album has to stand on its own merits. And as such, Aura Of Suffering succeeds. Raw and cold, full of hypnotic riffs and blasphemous atmosphere, falling somewhere between typical Finnish (Horna, Behexen etc.) and orthodox black metal, it is an album that may take a little time to fully pull you in to its embrace, but such time is well invested. It may not be flashy, but Aura Of Suffering more than delivers the goods.
The unholy feel is present from the very beginning, with opener “Revelations In Blood” drawing you in with a spiraling guitar line, before the album fully wraps its dark arms around you. Oppressive and strong, what melody there is is largely carried by the riffs, with the vocals atop them coming across like some sort of twisted sermon or preaching, their low, powerful bellows hitting with the force of a hammer. There are moments of relative restraint, such as the mid-tempo bridge during the opening song, and such moments are both impressive in their own right, but also help emphasise just how intense the surrounding music is. That isn’t to confuse speed with intensity, either – slower sections, such as the closing four minutes of “Night Of Thousand Plagues”, still pack a punch.
As that might suggest, some of these songs are long. None are shorter than six minutes, with two tracks running to almost ten minutes in length. When the songs hit their stride, and the atmosphere sucks you in and holds you in thrall, this is to their credit – the repetition becomes glorious, holding you in a trance that could last forever. But sometimes, it doesn’t quite hit the spot, and a touch more editing – or a few of the subtle changes that are used so well at other points on the album – would boost things immensely. As for when Perdition Winds play at tempo? It’s an absolute black metal maelstrom, dizzying in its violence, yet with a clear sense of purpose. The band are in control here, taking you along this dark journey with them; and by the time closer “Storming Primordial Oceans” comes around, with its grandiose atmosphere and sense of esoteric drama, you’ll be grateful that they did.
Boasting a thick, full production that gives the music real weight and power, Aura Of Suffering is heavier than you might expect from a black metal album. There’s a real “wall of sound” feel to it, as if the music were almost a physical thing that is pressing against you. Whilst this does mean some details get buried in the mix, it does mean than the album is never less than forceful, and overall it’s a choice that works. It possesses a raw, underground feel that makes the tracks feel alive, bristling with power and negative energy.
There’s a lot to be said in favor of Aura Of Suffering. It is an undeniably intense album, with more to it than initial listens might lead you to suspect – the nature of the production does mean that a few details can get lost in the mix, especially when they can be so subtle. But there is no disguising the fervor with which the band play, and the album is full of darkness in the way that only orthodox black metal can be. No gimmicks, no bullshit, just pure blackness. As it should be.
Aura Of Suffering can be purchased on CD from Woodcut Records.