Inherits the Void – The Impending Fall of the Stars Review

The middle of the Venn diagram of melodic and atmospheric is where I find my favorite kind of black metal. Sizzling with the energy and catchiness of epic tremolo refrains and blastbeating tempos, and shimmering with veils of synth. If it’s a good example at least. Hence, I rushed to pick up Inherits the Void’s sophomore record The Impending Fall of the Stars as soon as I saw the magic adjectives melodic and atmospheric applied to their black metal style. As it turns out, this is a good example of melodic atmospheric black metal. It channels a vibe that sits somewhere between Vorga and Mare Cognitum; energizing and ethereal in equal measure. With some notable exceptions (like the aforementioned Mare Cognitum), one-man black metal acts have an awkward stereotype for being overly idiosyncratic or just sub-par. But though Inherits the Void is a solo project, it’s straightforwardly good black metal. No weird strings attached.

If you don’t like melodic black metal, you won’t like this album. Project mastermind Antoine Scholtès utilizes the full array of tools and tropes of the subgenre—some of which I’ve highlighted above. Frantic and jaunty rhythms keep the time for tumbling, repeating chords and soaring tremolo riffs. Stripped-back passages of solo guitar and synth pause the frenetic pace before drums and shrieks kickstart it again. Mournful chords mix with swaying tempos in majestic strains. But Inherits the Void shrugs off staleness with a delivery that feels exciting and incredibly heartfelt. The melodies are catchy—though some more than others—and the music carries an infectious passion as well as just the right amount of energy. This is an album of journeys, as Scholtès explains, “people migrations from very ancient ages to current times, considering the hopes, the dangers, and the loneliness.” But for the potentially disposable interlude “Whispering Silence,” this murmurating musical journey winds fluidly and with appropriate drama.

As you would expect with music of this ilk, The Impending Fall of the Stars shines most brightly in the melody department. It might be a spirited dance (title track, “Palingenesis,” “Crimson Slumber”); a stirring surge (“Where the Oceans Lost their Light,” “Endless Nocturnal Mask,” “While the Night Seizes of the Burning”); or accentuated by waves of warping synths (“Sullen Laments of the Wanderers,” “Oracle of a Forgotten Grief”). But however Inherits the Void deliver them, they effectively communicate a sense of yearning and joy. The returning melancholic refrains of “Where the Oceans…” and “Crimson Slumber” especially tug on my musical soul with their emotivity. There’s also the simple effortlessness of those ringing guitar riffs as they flit up and down the scale to the beat of tireless drums,1 that’s just irresistible and encapsulate what I personally love about this genre. The energy with which tempos change, and a charge breaks out into a sustained soar (title track, “While the Night…”) is pleasantly thrilling, in an understated kind of way. Keys are not overdone or superfluous, rather creating a floating ambience to slower passages, and a dreamlike shimmer to already twinkling tremolos.

As beautiful and as strong as TIFotS is, it’s not totally brilliant. The compositions are exhilarating and enjoyable, but they’re not mind-blowingly dazzling—not even “Where the Oceans…”, which in my opinion is close to perfect, and “Crimson Slumber” which falls not far behind. One minor gripe in general is that the vocals feel pushed back a little too far. While music like this benefits from allowing the instrumentation to take center stage, letting Scholtès’ voice break further above the fracas would only give these songs more power. That being said, the production in general is very nice, full of all the incandescent warmth and atmosphere key to good melodic black metal. Given how dynamic of an album this is, it also flows well, carrying the listener assertively through its forty-something minutes.

Sometimes you simply have to give credit for something relatively simple done extremely well. Inherits the Void haven’t broken any new ground, but they’ve created a compelling selection of stirring black metal that I continue to return to, addictively. With emotive melodies and a subtly encompassing atmosphere, The Impending Fall of the Stars takes a comfortable spot in that Venn diagram of quality.

Rating: Very Good
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Avantgarde Music
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: January 20th, 2023

Show 1 footnote

  1. I don’t know if they’re programmed or performed by a session drummer, but they’re great
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