Ethereal Shroud – Trisagion Review

For those who don’t already know this, Ethereal Shroud is the brainchild of one of our AMG alums, Noctus. His previous work, They Became the Fallen Ash, received a high score from Dr. Grier, and rightfully so. Ethereal Shroud writes music that strikes a mood and delves deep into that well until the listener is bled dry. The newest and final installment, Trisagion, makes even greater strides to provide extreme metal that is vigorous and engaging as much as it is delicate and vulnerable. Three tracks totaling just over an hour, plus a bonus track (included with the promo materials I received) bring the total runtime to an intimidating hour and eighteen minutes. However, I think it would be a grave error to miss Trisagion, as it’s a compelling and fitting conclusion to Ethereal Shroud’s campaign.

Trisagion, at its core, fits the mold of atmospheric black metal to a tee. However, only fools suggest that Ethereal Shroud settle for that core sound without layers upon layers of extracurricular influence to flesh it out. In 2021, that influence takes the form of a most depressive subset of doom, a network of melodic leads which alternate between chilling and radiant, and crafty drumming that handily combines post-metallic defiance of standard beats with traditional blasts and double-bass runs. The band smartly applies repetition to give each monolithic structure the integrity to stand tall on their own, while reprisals of common themes each undergo steady and often understated evolutions which allow familiar melodies and motifs to breathe with new life. The DR 13 master certainly helps with this, creating a full and vital soundstage upon which to showcase rich mixing. In short, Trisagion showcases the power of simple, effective songwriting when provided the support and care needed to blossom into something greater than the sum of its parts.

Consider opener “Chasmal Fires,” a massive slab of doomed atmoblack that absorbs damn near half the total runtime by itself. For many other bands that delve into the precarious waters of long-form construction, any track closing the gap on thirty minutes riddles me with apprehension. Ethereal Shroud, on the other hand, achieve the improbable by unleashing a deeply memorable and emotional epic which feels at least half as lengthy as it is. I attribute that achievement to the quality of the song’s melodies, which possess a majestic grace that allows devastating tidal waves of emotion to issue forth without ripping the heart of the song to tatters. In fact, all three of Trisagion’s acts build upon the backbone of a singular regal melody from which all other tendrils of Ethereal Shroud’s opus magnum unfurl, but “Discarnate” holds the strongest material compared to the bookends. Coming in at a “tight” fifteen minutes, this song turns the dial up to eleven in every respect, from the quality of the melodies, to the creativity of the percussion, to the unrestrained vocal delivery.

My favorite cut of Trisagion, though, is bonus track “Lanterns.” Just when I thought the melodic expressiveness of Trisagion’s epic main trio reached a zenith of emotional depth, “Lanterns” flares into existence. It blinds me with a blaze of warm, expressive leads and deceivingly uplifting tones. I understand why it’s separate from the main body of the record, as it is tonally distinct, but I do hope that Noctus allows people who buy this record to experience this piece. It’s simply wonderful and absolutely deserves a spotlight—which is primarily why I chose to embed it instead of the others.

A part of me knows that Trisagion, excellent as it is, still runs for too long. Some of the melodies repeat too many times before they evolve later on or usher in the next act (“Astral Mariner” showcases this issue well). Furthermore, I often feel like the introspective quality of the album creates a lack of explosive moments that past songs like “Look upon the Light” provided. Even just one such riveting combustion would bring an even greater range of musical dynamics to Trisagion and would elevate the material further in kind. That being said, Ethereal Shroud ought to be proud of their swansong, as it’s an immense triumph without question or qualification.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 13 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Website: |
Releases Worldwide: December 10th, 2021

« »