Deathgate Arkanum     

Seelen
None Shall Defy Records/Amor Fati Productions
2012

This one man force of atmospheric misanthropy conjures up his third full length album.  Seelen is four songs of despondent and mesmerizing black metal.  Tremor I starts calmly with sparse guitar and creeping sounds.  Spoken samples give way to icy riffs that rise from the gloom.  Bitter vocals ravage the composition as thin guitars crackle with each note.  Termor II is up next with its even more inhospitable moods and frigid riffs.  The guitar tone on this album is so trebly and cold.  The song moves along at a slow pace that gives the riffs a chance to breath, and this is really evident when the guitars drop out for some moody synth and clean guitar.  Around the 6:30 mark the vocals and domineering riffs announce their return and impose their will with an epic and haunting movement.  Tremor III follows the blueprint of slowly building instrumentation in the beginning that works into a refined and chilly black metal ode to epic and freezing visions.  Once again, the pacing of the track really allows the music to flow outwards and send the listener's mind into regions of unholy exploration.  The disturbing, yet classy near-melodies give the song added depth.  Stark piano around the 5:45 mark pierces your psyche.  At some points within the track because of the songwriting I almost get a goth feel, but without pretentiousness associate with that genre.  The melodic riffing of Tremor IV brings to mind a slow motion Transilvanian Hunger.  Nostalgic synth and a poppy beat hit my ears as the song fades into the barren sunset.  The one problem I have with this recording is the use of drum machine which at times can be a little distracting.  But really this is a minor issue when taken in context with the music.  Deathgate Arkanum crafts an album that is cold and atmospheric, but in a way dissimilar to all the Burzum clones out there.  Listening to Seelen leaves me wrapped in layers of forlorn frost.