Harvest of Seasons
Bleak Art Records 2008
Canada is not usually known for folk inspired black metal yet here is the exception to the rule, Black Lotus. I have heard Black Lotus compared to Borknagar's imperial yet naturalistic style and I would say this is quite an accurate assessment. After a calm acoustic intro, a surprisingly fiery black metal symphony erupts on Signatura Rerun. Clean male vocals add touches of operatic beauty. Statues in Auburn blasts with nocturnal beauty that brings to mind the chill that sets upon everything after a burning sunset. At times during the faster sections I am reminded of Dimmu Borgir's Stormblast though less piano oriented. Terra Hiberna is painted with melancholy as guitar melodies blend with sorrowful synths to create passages that are both uplifting and paradoxically filled with sadness. The clean vocals are filled with a sense of longing for ancient times and all of Black Lotus' various elements combine perfectly to achieve the album's highlight. Majestic synths add depth and emotion to the bouncing black metal riffing of Awaken the Season of Old. Towards the end of the album I feel it begins to drag a little. The Fallow Earth is a tempest of high-speed black metal riffs and drumming that drop their tempo for the clean vocal sections. Dueling clean and black metal vocals can be appealing to me in limited doses but I think Black Lotus overuse them a little. I know this is one of the key aspects of their style but it serves to make the songs sound samey towards the album's final tracks. Black Lotus has created an album that is enjoyable though not earth shattering. Arcane and pagan elements sweep across Harvest of Seasons and through musical evocation times of natural heathen glory are hailed and lamented.