Sear Bliss - Letters From the Edge
Shadow Kingdom Records
Black Metal
10 songs (50' 49")
Release year: 2018
Sear Bliss, Shadow Kingdom Records
Reviewed by Andy

A new Sear Bliss album, in my experience, has never failed to impress, and I'll cut right to the chase and say that this one's no exception. Letters From the Edge combines a complex, symphonic sound driven by the band's iconic trombone with thunderous black metal that takes inspiration from several other metal genres.

The album is mixed beautifully, giving András Nagy's delicate keyboard work just as much emphasis as his full-throated growls. Zoltán Pál returns to horn duties for this one, and his delicate instrumental backgrounds often nearly steal the show from the rest of the band, who are formidable contributors to the Sear Bliss sound in their own right. After a brief atmospheric intro, the album starts out energetically, all growls and blastbeats, before the horns and keyboards start making their presence felt in Seven Springs. A Mirror in the Forest is also a standout, continuing the theme with the addition of some beautiful guitar soloing to a swinging beat.

The trombone, that secret weapon of the band, lends a majestic gravitas to a sound that already has a lot going for it melodically. None of the songs laying this sound out to the listener could fit in a single category -- Leaving Forever Land is a particularly adventurous piece that nonetheless fits perfectly with the mood of the album --, but one thing that's been left behind is epic doom influence, and the atmospheric black vibe has become more pronounced, with notes of melody and even some power metal influences carefully stirred into the brew. In fact, it seems that this is a smoother, cleaner album than in days of yore, and some listeners, wanting harsher recipes, might get turned off by this. But the album's complexity demands a light touch, and the band picks its way carefully.

Overall, Letters From the Edge makes for an offering worthy of the black metal veterans who came on the scene with Phantoms. Definitely worth picking up.


Killing Songs :
Seven Springs, A Mirror in the Forest, Leaving Forever Land
Andy quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Sear Bliss that we have reviewed:
Sear Bliss - Eternal Recurrence reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
Sear Bliss - The Arcane Odyssey reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
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