By Selenos Lunos

The Australian metal scene has always impressed me with its innovative and uncompromisingly savage bands. One of the most recent releases to come from the country is EPHEMERAL, the fifth full length album from black metallers Pestilential Shadows.

Formed in 2003, Pestilential Shadows plays a majestic and anguish ridden style of black metal, hammering out chaotic blast beats and rapidly tremolo picked guitars, before bringing the listener into the grips of despair with soaring melancholic passages. EPHEMERAL sticks to this style, and each of its songs flow together beautifully, creating an album that is equal parts harsh and melodic, crafting an atmosphere that is easy to get lost in, especially if reading along to the incredible lyrics. The songwriting is solid and consistent throughout, lacking any parts that felt dry or too long-lasting, something that I feel happens too often with atmosphere-heavy black metal.

Out of the seven songs on the album, three tracks stood out to me, the first being the dreamy ‘Fragments’. The track starts off slowly and methodically, but continues to evolve into a constantly shifting and changing epic and its placement as the third song on the album causes it to really set in stone what the rest of the record will feel like. ‘Hymn of Isolation and Suicide’ holds true to its title, it is the most bleak and depressive on the album, as it drags you deeper and deeper into a pit of hopelessness. The final song, ‘Ephemeral’, spends an intense ten minutes summarizing the album, bringing the listener back to the scenes of despair that were presented earlier, and using sounds of chaos that only black metal can create to carry the record to its close.

This is an expertly paced album, everything flows together smoothly, and it holds up all the way through. If you like your black metal with equal parts bite and atmosphere, EPHEMERAL is not to be missed.