If you’ve been making the mistake of paying attention to me this year, you’ve probably noticed the name Bloodbark tossed about all William Nilliam. This phenomenon has occurred for two reasons, the first of which being that you likely have terrible tastes in role models. The second, more important reason, is that Bonebranches comprises forty minutes ov the most magnificently Muppetous metal music made amidst the massive, miserable mess mankind’ll ‘member as “2018.” This year saw more one-man atmoblack than is perhaps advisable, so just what makes this three-track random Bandcamp discovery worth writing to The Hall about? Well, keep reading, dipshit, you’re about to get your learn on.
The first selling point: three tracks. I have infinite musical superiority and am allotted only three TYMHMs per year, so if I’m sacrificing one of those precious slots to plug a three track album and you’re an atmoblack fiend, you should probably be paying attention. Two of Bonebranches‘ blackened ballads have refused to leave my daily listening experience since the album dropped way back in January; not bad by the tried n’ trve Meat Loaf standard, but downright empirically excellent when considering just how fucking many post-black albums have been released since then: if it’s cold and precipitous outside, “Ferns and Roads” WILL be played in Muppetland, no matter how many other classic blackened gems have secured that seasonal spotlight in years past.
You know ‘that’ sound? Of course you do: it’s that indescribable moment of transcendental bliss during “Black Lake Niðstang,” the mournful euphoria of RÛR, that timeless melancholic ecstasy that Winterfylleth call home; much like Skyborne Reveries‘ Winter Lights, Bonebranches finds its success by adhering to the tried and trve ways of modern atmoblack, avoiding any sense of wheel reinvention and instead honing the finest points of the genre into a lethal and soulful blend of all of the above. I don’t know or care what Bush was talking about: this is the sound of winter, yo.
Objectively speaking, I have to acknowledge that each of Bonebranches‘ tracks essentially find themselves mired in their respective main melodies for the bulk of their run-times; make no mistake, this is atmoblack being atmoblack—it’s just doing a really, really good job of making the melody matter. Everything it lacks in dynamics is compensated for in feels, and that’s ultimately what atmoblack is all about. Well, that and scenic album covers.
If you’ve slept on Bonebranches til now, I kind of hate you but I also kind of envy you. As the sun sets on the year and encases the land in crystalline cold, the stage is seasonally set for this icy gem to shine its brightest. For some, this may be just another atmoblack album, and you’re not necessarily wrong—you just suck. For others, i.e. sane people, Bonebranches is a beautiful sonic encapsulation of winter itself, a perfect soundtrack to the least perfect time of year.
Tracks to Check Out: All ov them. There’s only three, you lazy fvcks.