Stilla – Ensamhetens Andar

StillaAh yes… the perfect audial companion to the frigged wintry environs surrounding the Worm bunker! Sweden’s Stilla quickly return from 2013’s excellent Till Stilla Falla with Ensamhetens Andar, their 2nd full-length of captivating black metal rich with the bleak artistry and unparalleled atmosphere found in the mid 90’s Scandinavian black metal scene. The past is indeed and thankfully alive in the hearts of this quartet containing members of Armagedda, Lik, De Arma, and countless other bands.

To be honest with you, the lead-off track, Vandring Utan Spar, struck me as so interesting and full of wooded atmosphere, that it was really hard to get past to hear the whole album as I kept listening to the track over and over again. A clunky and disjointed intro to the track evolves into simplistic and deeply emotive verse lines where a mist like blanket of synths washes over this track with an erie, yet comforting wave of depression. The keys nicely accent the simple layers of instruments. The bass lines are independent of the main riffs and pile on such a welcoming sense of dimension. Blast beats come and go at the right times throughout the life of this track before the band reintroduces the odd opening riff for an interesting sense of tension to end this excellent song in the same manner it began. Par Stille’s throaty and grim vocals are harshly perfect for this melodic and dreary musical statement and the manner in which he sings sends a nod of respect to early Satyricon and Khold, giving this album an even more unshakable Scandinavian stamp of traditional blackness. And no, I wouldn’t want to shake that excellent vibe or delivery, for the sound Stilla is so effortlessly upholding is a form of black metal that is close to my heart and sadly overlooked in modern metal extremities as the scene has adopted more of a clinical edge and technicality which has sacrificed the soul of this once creative beast. As Ensamhetens Andar unfolds, and yes, I finally did make it past the first song, the listener is transported deeper into the audial forest where Stilla continue to build upon their influences and further introduce their own independent ideas to take flight and mesmerize. The recording allows every instrument to be heard and even though there is a noticeably clean sound canvas at the heart of this album, the distorted instruments offer the dissonance in waves of poignant melodies which are further realized when the guitars are hard panned left and right as witnessed on the title track. There’s a lot going on in this song and having everything so painstakingly separated is not only interesting to the ear, it is also disorienting as the 2 hemispheres of your brain work overtime to sort out the flowing musical elements.

Ensamhetens Andar is yet another excellent strike of black metal the old way mixed with challenging ideas and a desire to reach beyond the past while not completely forsaking it. Stilla for me are 2 for 2 and definite jewel in the tarnished crown of a long dead king. Check these guys out if you haven’t already. -Marty
Nordvis Produktion

~ by martyworm on January 29, 2014.

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