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Avzhia - In My Domains
Review: Avzhia return with an album of sweeping romantic melodies drifting through loose waltz-like anthems in the style of Graveland with hints of Summoning if interpreted by Rotting Christ. Fifteen years after the effective demise of the genre, this band grasp the abstract components of black metal that are more important than aesthetics or imagery.
The result focuses on the melancholic spirit of the genre that thrusts aside good/bad categories to find beauty in the potential energy stored between the darkest and lightest of states of the human spirit. These mid-paced songs lope through a rotation of riffs that return to contemplative and balanced intervals through a series of minor-key derivations from the major theme, keeping an atmosphere of lonely contemplation with an inner warmth.
Unabashedly sentimental, songs grow organically around a pair of themes, an ambient structure shaped by a sublimated prismatic narrative. Keyboards infuse the background with harmonic tension, and percussion supports guitar phrases instead of leading them, underscoring the album with a mood of the ancient and unformedly fecund. Vocals emerge in diffuse waves of disintegrated sound, plunging tightly through guitars to make contiguous sound like resonance tones heard through the groaning metal of a suspension bridge.
In My Domains ascends to the level of contemplation that made early black metal greater than nearly everything after 1995, but also subsumes the folk, traditional, electronic and soundtrack influences that dominated Summoning and Graveland into a smoothly flowing new style of black metal. In doing so, it casts aside the paradigm that aesthetics define black metal, and instead resurrects the spirit of the genre with a massive isolated, defiant and beautiful album.