While the rest of the world seems to be toiling in financial instability and crisis, Canada is doing just fine. Without the money problems and uncontrollable strings of violence, it leaves their citizens with ample to time to try other things. Some practice their hockey skills, in a bid to give Americans even more to be envious of. Other hone their musical chops, creating music that ranges anywhere from the post metal to the most evil of all, Justin Bieber. And while the latter may be dominating radio waves, it is the former that is the most intriguing. In discovering a band like Moradin, a four piece from Calgary, you are reminded that black metal is not a strictly European craft. And with bands doing amazing things with the basic framework of the genre, you should make it a point to keep your ears open and your mind equally so. And perhaps "Awakening" will convince you.
Despite a high speed piece of black metal drumming, the main guitar melody that opens "Spring Rain" is an enchanting one. The combination of styles, both raw and melodic, is a good one that results in a very deep sound. With all of the layers resting comfortably on top of one another, you get a to enjoy them together and separately, as you choose. It is often difficult to equate the word 'smooth' with black metal of any sort, but this ethereal blend is exactly that. After a short, clean interlude, there is a punk explosion that kicks up not only the tempo but the intensity. Furthering the beauty and beast dynamic, "A Cascade Of Spirit" opens with a solemn guitar riff, before evolving into a full band opus. This is post metal at its best, complete with a sense of cohesion that many of the black metal inspired bands miss out on. Their sound brings to mind many of the bands that helped the post rock explosion of Japan in 2004, such as Te or Toe. With the addition of melodic vocals, which inhabit a sort of imperfect beauty, you have a well rounded package.It is proof, once again, that melodic guitars can stand up to thunderous double kicks, and coexist. To have a finale like "Celestial Waters," you must let a piece of yourself go in the recording process. Through the delicate bass work and guitars, there is an investment into the instrumental that you simply can't fake. The bad shows off their versatility is many ways, punctuated by a rise from quiet interlude to massive slugfest. This is not only a great piece of music, but a well conceived and well executed piece of songwriting and structure.
Over the last few years, black metal has turned into this almost clear slate, waiting to be redefined and started anew. Thanks to the creativity and talents of bands like Alcest and An Autumn For Crippled Children, we have been given a peek at what is possible through the basic tenets. Moradin follow along those same lines, borrowing from black metal sounds of the past, and infusing their own very special, and indeed very successful, melodic tendencies. They manage to walk the tightrope between raw and refined, and allowing their musicianship to determine when to lean towards one or the other. The production work is excellent, which only strengthens the overall sound of the album itself. Too many people might still be in the dark on the latest 'post' style, but it is safe to say "Awakening" might just be the cup of Folgers coffee they needed.
Bandcamp - http://moradin.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Moradin/185419808169491