Genre(s): Heavy Metal
Subgenres(s): Black Metal, Progressive Metal
Length: 52 minutes
01. I Am the Abyss
03. Edin in Ashes
04. This World Shall Fall
05. Squandered Paradise
06. Eternal Forest
07. The Cosmic Tide
08. A New Dawn
09. The Sun No Longer
Shylmagoghnar Emergence Review
Emergence is the self-released debut album of Dutch metallers Shylmagoghnar. While the core of the band’s sound is black metal they take cues from progressive metal to create longer, multi-faceted passages without ever needing to resort to self-indulgent musicianship. There are also influences from melodic death metal, most notably on the lead guitar, and the band makes good use of this along with tasteful keyboard arrangements to contrast with the black metal aesthetic which manages to be polished and accessible without attempting to pander to anyone.
There are 4 instrumental songs to be heard on Emergence. Eternal Forest and The Cosmic Tide are both performed in the aforementioned black metal/progressive metal style whereas I Am the Abyss has noticeable influence from post rock/metal and is the longest song on the album at 9 minutes. This is a bold introductory song that grabs your attention and establishes Shylmagoghnar’s musical vision while expressing a great deal of personality and depth so effortlessly.
The Sun No Longer is the final instrumental song and it also brings Emergence to a close all while being the biggest curveball on the album. While Nimblkorg is the primary song-writer, this one was composed by vocalist Skirge and is played entirely on keyboards with a melancholic feeling that isn’t present on any of the other songs. The feeling found here is thematically linked to his lyrics which deal with misanthropy and the end of humanity by citing the self-inflicted death and destruction done to one another throughout history. He then proceeds to mockingly cry “Hail the glorious humankind – Hail! Hail the splendour of our kind!” on Squandered Paradise to express his contempt.
While these themes are prominent throughout Emergence the tone changes on A New Dawn when Skirge reflects on his negative assessment of humanity and conclude that “what’s done is done; the dice were cast/and the only path before us lies/striding towards the riches of a new dawn”. Lyrically this leaves Emergence on a hopeful note and looking at the previous songs it appears as though they chronical the duo struggling with the seemingly endless troubles of the world (we once gave in/to endless waves of melancholy/the weight of the world/and the torment of troubled souls) before having an epiphany that allowed them to push on.
This World Shall Fall is another curveball found earlier in the album that is best described as “black metal without the guitars”. The tempo slows down and the focus is put on a drum and keyboard combination that is used to create a unique atmosphere that sets it apart from the other songs.
Emergence is an ambitious debut album that blends different subgenres of heavy metal together while showcasing some adventurous song-writing abilities that never fall short of the mark. Shylmagoghnar aren’t afraid to throw themselves in at the deep end and if they can continue down this path they will undoubtedly carve out a well-deserved niche within the heavy metal community.
Nimblkorg: Music, guitars, bass, drums, synths, vocals/lyrics on Emergence, mixing and mastering
Skirge: Vocals, lyrics, music and synths on The Sun No Longer, additional compositions
Thursday 01/10/15: An excerpt of this review has been published on Shylmagoghnar’s Bandcamp page at the request of the artist.