Battle Dagorath - Abyss Horizons
Avantgarde Music
Atmospheric Black Metal
8 songs (73' 17")
Release year: 2020
Avantgarde Music
Reviewed by Andy

Battle Dagorath has been steadily improving its soundtrack-like ambient black metal, and Abyss Horizons is the best I've heard from them yet (granted, I missed the project's two-volume space-themed predecessors a few years ago, which I will have to revisit at some point). Black Sorcerer Battle has dropped most of the sampling and focused his sound on a cosmic, mysterious-sounding buildup of keyboard and guitar layers.

There's a dreamlike sense to the sound, even at its most abrasive; the distortion of the blasting guitars is mixed into a smooth syrup with the keyboards, the drums whacking away below the mix. In between the abrasive parts, we get more introspective portions, including a series of ringing clean guitar passages with feedback-laden howls fading in, never quiet loud enough to dominate anything. I'm reminded of Mare Cognitum, though with a bit more negativity. These songs are long: There are only four under nine minutes, and all of them are ambient keyboard compositions. They give the listener a bit of refreshment after all the coldness of the main tracks, but they are also slow enough that it's easy to get impatient with their pace.

Black Sorcerer Battle's voice is such a ragged shriek that it's impossible to hear what he's singing about, but the grandiose wall of keyboards accompanying it leaves me in no doubt that it's something about the coldness of space and the dark magic it brings about. For all the improvements in atmosphere, however, one thing hasn't changed: The songs still don't have a lot of structure to them. Clean picking gives way to harsh blasting and then moves back again to slower portions at a glacial pace, and one gets the impression that the track length could have been either doubled or halved without much change in its impact.

Nonetheless, this is relatively good, and an improvement on Cursed Storm of Ages. The album's elongated songs can get a bit wearisome, but Battle Dagorath's turn towards cosmic atmosphere is yielding better results.

Killing Songs :
Conjuring the Starwinds
Andy quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Battle Dagorath that we have reviewed:
Battle Dagorath - Cursed Storm of Ages reviewed by Andy and quoted 75 / 100
Battle Dagorath - Eternal Throne reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
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