Oh, departures. Not traditionally a wildly anticipated experience, and yet to know someone is to invariably set the stage for a future farewell; all roads end in goodbye, whether spoken aloud, thought silently to oneself, or else whispered in the dark before an audience of no one. Some goodbyes sing of poignant possibility, others give voice to the shape of grief to come. But the declaration of egress I now deliver unto you, my children, sounds… waaay more fuckin’ bleak than I had intended to, yo, good Jørn. In a nutshell, what I mean is that RÛR‘s self-titled triumph is the last black metal review I intend to write for a while and it’s as befitting the occasion as they come. Before I cast thee to the wolves of prog, dad-metal and Swordborn, let’s forego the “why’s” and the weeping, take my hand and let’s walk through ebony gates of trvth and despair together just one more time.
Those of you capable of making me proud are probably puzzling over the presence of a previous year’s provision in the present post. This is due to justice occasionally prevailing: dropping digitally during November of last year, multi-instrumentalist C.L.’s eponymous, self-released work as RÛR was eventually picked up for a physical run by Northern Silence Productions, to include an additional track not appearing on the original release. Further defying the norm, the additional track is really, really enjoyable, fitting in with the previous material just as though it had always been there. This is crucial, as I’ve been fondly familiar with the album since its initial release and had particularly admired the cohesive nature of its original form. RÛR sounds like a God’s eye view of your favorite mythological army of choice getting its shit kicked in, a panoramic score to a battle that cannot be won. There is an air of bittersweet triumph throughout its (now) 45 minutes that is as delicate as it is crushing, to hear it maintained and expounded upon in what some might look at as a bonus track is refreshing, indeed, and it speaks wonders to C.L.’s creative abilities.
Indeed, this is one of those rare times when the word ‘epic’ won’t get one slapped hall-less. RÛR is very much an epic thing of blackness, applying the anthemic atmospheres of Caladan Brood to the darkly celestial stylings of Crow Black Sky or Mare Cognitum and creating something trvly fvcking hvge as a resvlt. Tremolo picking punctuated by precise and pummeling percussion push each track further into battle while a coldly efficient lo-fi mix keeps things grim, and expert application of ambiance to the fray lends RÛR a surreal, other-worldly feel of marching victoriously toward certain doom. With the shortest track clocking in at 8 minutes, the chapters to this story are lengthy, but the impact of the content is such that fans are hardly likely to notice the run-times. That said, this album does everything that atmospheric black metal is expected to — really well, I must add — but if the genre hasn’t claimed you yet, it’s not likely to kidnap you here.
That said, those as addicted to atmoblack as I am will find themselves at that sweet spot just shy of an overdose should they revel in RÛR and ride it out to the end. 8-15(!) minutes per track is a lot to ask of Generation Now, but the songs need that time to properly construct and implement their sonic weaponry, and moreover, they utilize that time efficiently. “II” may be over ten minutes in duration, yet the pictures it paints in my mind move so quickly and vividly that the time elapsed during each listen is utterly inconsequential, hardly a fault. Hallucinations will vary from user to user, but the result of mixing the atmospheric methods of space metal with the mournfully triumphant energy of Winterfylleth is sure to please junkies of the genre across all its shades ov black. All that you love has been carried away and taken somewhere just a little bit darker than before, and that place is RÛR.
As I say my goodbye to the blackness, for now, I find comfort in knowing that black metal is still alive, still growing, and in good hands. Though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death metal and metalcore with my sable stable behind me, I find solace in knowing that I left you all with one last, glorious piece of blackened glory. You know, right before I abandon you and shit gets weird. See ya in the metalcore!