"The Embers of the Stars"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The claim made in the PR sheet for this album is true...there is simply not much black metal in the style of Ahamkara being done these days. That's a plus, because it means this isn't going to be swallowed up in a sea of sound-alike bands.

This British band plays epic hyperfast but melodic black metal with long, LOOOONG songs. Too long, really, but they make up for that failing by really nailing the style they play. Think of Wolves In The Throne Room mixed with Winterfylleth but with a very heavy dose of early 90's BM. At points, it becomes drawn out and monotonous, but I found surprising beauty and richness in Ahamkara's music. You can fell the temperature drop as you get hit by the freezing blast of "Midwinter's Hymn". That one's on the short side for these guys...only ten minutes long. The vocals are super harsh and screaming, the guitars are very trebly and there are ice-cold synths adding to the atmosphere.

Only four long tracks here, but the last and longest, "To Invoke The Stars Themselves", is the best. The droning speed riffs here transport you to another world and there are some ambient synth-driven moments that are heart-breakingly beautiful. This is the sort of time-lost, meditative stuff that few BM bands can pull off.

So even though some moments make my eyes glaze over and the vocals get rather too screechy, I am pleasantly surprised by Ahamkara. This is one of the better things I've heard from the Nordvis label.