Over the course of the past few years, since release of Elegiac‘s first demo in 2014, the one-man black metal band have been steadily carving out their own identity. Whilst earlier records were very much those of an act testing the boundaries of their sound and, to some extent, finding their feet, later records have seen Elegiac assert their sound and style. That is evident on latest album Rise From The Ashes, which is is a prime demonstration of Elegiac’s aggressive, misanthropic brand of USBM. Following in the raw footsteps of previous album Edge Of Reason, Rise From The Ashes is vicious and uncompromising.
The opening opening tremolo-picked lead on first track ‘The Imminent Cleanse’ suggests a more frostbitten offering from Elegiac this time around, but it soon morphs in to the kind of USBM that recalls the likes of Woe, mixing punk elements in with black metal. There’s even a hint of the likes of Satanic Warmaster to some of the riffs. It’s a relentless assault, with aggression being very much the key element to Rise From The Ashes. Amongst the pounding drums and whirlwind riffs there’s barely any space for light to break through, making this an oppressive listen that demands submission. The exception to this is the interlude tracks, which are wisely placed to help break Rise From The Ashes up in to something more approachable. The contrast they create serves the record well, with their more spacious sense of ominous dread helping to emphasize just how remorselessly vicious the rest of the album is.
And this really is one vicious album. It’s rarely more than a moment away from some aggressive snarl or razor-sharp guitar riff, and even those tracks which open in a more mid-tempo manner, such as ‘Aurelian Fortress’ and ‘The Dungeon Of Existence’ soon shift in to more up-tempo, punk-infused USBM territories. This is not an album that cares for your comfort or well-being, and the aura of hatred and misanthropy that it conjures is strong.
There is a paradox with Rise From The Ashes, though. Whilst I feel that it’s probably the strongest Elegiac release to date, it does also feel like it’s the one that comes closest to being a genre piece – whilst I wouldn’t accuse it of being generic, it does fit in very cleanly to the modern USBM sound. The doom and DSBM aspects of earlier releases such as Obsidian Moon are no longer present, and whilst this has resulted in a perhaps less distinctive record, Rise From The Ashes – and, by extension, Elegiac – feels stronger for it.
Rise From The Ashes can be streamed, downloaded, and purchased on cassette via Bandcamp.