Over the last few years, Russia may have spawned quite a number of class extreme metal acts such as Pyre and slamming brutal death metal band Aborted Fetus. Yet this land is not the first thing on one’s mind when the metal genre is brought up. Coupled with the lack of exposure to extreme metal for a couple of months now, Grey Heaven Fall managed to be one such act that has managed to enchant me with their sophomore full length, Black Wisdom.
Unlike their compatriots that I have encountered so far, Grey Heaven Fall‘s style of death metal takes cue from the atmosphere and ambient of black metal, not only in their songwriting and musicality, but also in the heretic themes on Black Wisdom. From the start of The Lord is Blissful in Grief, the riffs of Arsagor is filled with bleakness and desolation, with the trem-picked lines and dissonance being reminiscent of the works of early Norwegian bands such as Mayhem or Gorgoroth. At the same time, the entire dark and ominous atmosphere and ambient that is created by the melodic lines of the band remind one of the works of Dissection or Watain, especially on moments like Spirit of Oppression. Other times, with the vocals of Arsagor, things can get rather heavy, not dissimilar from the works of Polish black/death overlords Behemoth or Hate.
The themes of chaos is also apparent throughout the album, as Arsagor presents to the listener riffs that can get rather complex, along with the rhythmic backbone of Pavel and SunSay who keep up with much ease. Pavel in particular often gets to display his technical abilities, with plenty of room on Black Wisdom to show off complex drum fills, adding in that tinge of technicality to the band’s dynamics as well.
With all the things going on on Black Wisdom, two tracks in particular stood out for me – Spirit of Oppression and the closing track, That Nail in a Heart. The longest tracks on the album, Spirit of Oppression and That Nail in a Heart display the songwriting prowess of the band, bringing out the whole range of negativity within the listener, yet keeping that sliver of hope as the track and album ends. The solo towards the end of Spirit of Oppression for instance, sounds like the wail of the oppressed, a desperate plea for help.
Grey Heaven Fall has created a great introspective record with Black Wisdom, perhaps drawn from their experiences of their daily life put into 52 minutes. With the negativity facing the world as it is right now, Grey Heaven Fall‘s sophomore is certainly one that fits the occasion.
1. The Lord is Blissful in Grief
2. Spirit of Oppression
3. To the Doomed Sons of Earth
4. Sanctuary of Cut Tongues
5. Tranquility of the Possessed
6. That Nail in a Heart
Favourite picks: Spirit of Oppression, That Nail in a Heart