Yith - Dread
Self Release
Black Metal
7 songs (42' 40")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Andy

One man-act Yith's demos had been well-received over the past six years, with his unique blackened sound getting a lot of attention. Late last year he finally got a LP out the door, with some of the demo songs and new ones that touch upon similar topics, mostly about the horror of unlife and existence beyond the grave. The music matches the topics of the songs, sometimes dragging dismally, other times blasting the listener without mercy, and it doesn't let up until the oppressive synth of the last track, appropriately titled Immurement.

The black and doom characteristics of Dread still have literary antecedents (the title track appears to be a reference to an M.R. James story), but the Tolkien and Lovecraft themes that were present on the demos have been mostly cut back for this album. The sound is as cold and dark as a graveyard on a winter's night, with even the occasional acoustic sections of the guitar having a lurking, haunting quality, especially on the instrumental Remembrance. Cool chorus-synth shows up in spots for effect, but primarily this is a guitar album, and a lot of effort is put into getting the right atmosphere on some of these tracks. That atmosphere comes into its own when the riffing starts, measuring out bleak introductions to a sonic landscape of despair.

The real triumph of Yith's work is the individual nature of the tracks. Where Upon Dark Shores and the title track of Dread are black monoliths of doom, every riff crawling with portentious weight, Centuries of Horror is done in a three-fourths-time beat like a waltz, but with just enough ambiguity at the end of each passage to make the listener think perhaps he's missed something. Tremolo leads are everywhere, layered into the grimly deliberate rhythm section, and the transitions from slow-crushing weight to thunderous blastbeat assaults is so smooth that it seems like the only possible way the song could be. Like some of the other distinctive black metal bands appearing in recent years, this takes modern black metal forward in a new direction, one that is likely to delight many.

Bandcamp: https://yithmetal.bandcamp.com/album/dread

Killing Songs :
Remembrance, Dread, Centuries of Horror
Andy quoted 91 / 100
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