Famed poet, singer, and lyricist William Bruce Bailey1 once opined that “all we need is just a little patience.” Granted, dude is arguably the worst example of anybody having a zen-like stance when it comes to patience with… well, anything, but he does have a point. Going in a straight path from Point A to Point B, while gratifying, can be boring as fuck. It’s the proverbial journey, not the final destination, that people remember the most. What am I getting at? Diĝir Gidim, a relatively new two-piece hailing from parts unknown and featuring vocalist Lalartu of Titaan2, want to test your patience with their debut, the wordy I Thought There Was The Sun Awaiting My Awakening. Four songs, 48 minutes, with the shortest song being just under 11 minutes. Alright, let’s do this.
Since a one-sheet bio wasn’t included in the promo package, and their Facebook page is scarce, I glanced at their entry over at Metal Archives to dig up what I could for this review. With lyrical themes described as “Ancient Mesopotamia, Esoteric doctrines, Cosmology, and Philosophy,” I came to two conclusions. One, this will be an ambient, ritualistic experience, rife with atmosphere, and brimming with moments sure to send chills down your spine. Or two, this will sound like one of those millions of Deathspell Omega knock-offs. I pressed play, and #2 is the notorious victor. To be fair, though, multi-instrumentalist Utanapištim Ziusudra performs an admirable job behind the drums and on guitar, and Lalartu screams, hisses, sings, and preccccccioooooussses with enough variety and schizophrenic grandeur to keep things somewhat interesting.
The same can’t be said for the songwriting, however. Opener “The Revelation of the Wanderer” starts off promisingly, with a atonal chords, chants, and pummeling drums. It builds into an angular atonal riff/blast salad, with Lalartu growling and hissing while Ziusudra randomly riffs and drums away, sounding like Vindsval (Blut Aus Nord) without a sense of cohesion or purpose. The song possesses a multitude of change-ups and curveballs, but they rarely go anywhere. The biggest problem is that this song is easily the strongest of the entire album. “The Glow Inside the Shell” starts off strong, with Lalartu throwing in some bizarre hymnal singing to add an air of unease. But from 5:07-7:37 there’s this long lull of slow-paced fluffery that could have been shortened considerably. In fact, my favorite, most convincing section from I Thought is the final minute or so of closer “The Eye Looks Through the Veils of Unconsciousness,” where there’s weird, warm guitar fuzz that reminds me of Led Zeppelin‘s blasphemous work of blackened art, “Thank You.” It’s so sunny, so out-of-left-field, and so dreamy that I couldn’t help but make a face while it was playing. And then mercifully, the album abruptly ended.
I Thought‘s production also comes equipped with stock options. The drums sound like they were recorded in a cave, with the cymbals being brought to the forefront more. The guitars sound tinny and fried, and the bass… well, bass doesn’t exist here. Lalartu’s vocal histrionics blanket the entire production, burying any of the album’s few interesting passages. But the biggest problem lies in the construction of the songs themselves. A word of advice to all musicians (black metal or otherwise): before you commit yourselves to the construction of a 10-minute (or longer) song, ask yourself these questions. What is the purpose of the song? Does the message deserve that length, or can it be shortened to enhance the impact? And, most importantly, is the journey worth it? The reason I ask is just because you can write a long black metal song, it doesn’t mean you should if it goes absolutely nowhere, and I Thought is the sound of a ritual going in circles before imploding.
And with the change of the seasons, I Thought There Was The Sun Awaiting My Awakening melts into the earth with the same aplomb as icy slush in New England during April. I respect the capabilities of the duo, but I Thought didn’t leave any impact with me whatsoever. Maybe with some serious self-editing and thinking further outside of the box, Diĝir Gidim could create some esoteric magic. Until then, I’ll just stick with the source material.