I will never claim to be a black metal expert. I’ve heard the originators of the genre, some of the bigger albums, and I know what bands I like. I know I like atmospheric black, and Bloodbark really nails it. The 3 track, 40 minute album Bonebranches gives that aggressive spaciness that fills up your headphones and envelops you into a different world. It’s exactly what you want if you want to space out a little.
The cover art tells me everything I need to know about this album. The cover features a snowy alpine lake and mountain, and I simply can’t imagine a better scene to imagine for this collection. “Eyeless Winter” could easily be the soundtrack to a raging avalanche. When the piano intro gives way to the cymbal splash and blasting guitars, you can imagine snowfall building its way down through ravines and canyons to the mountain base, plunging it into a cold snowy darkness. A friend of mine once said he enjoyed listening to black metal while watching nature videos, and that’s exactly what you can do with this album.
Some of the tracks evoke Wolves in the Throne Room. You can hear the layering and the reverb giving the tracks depth. There’s a number of droning parts and repeating melody sections reminiscent of WITTR. I also think of Pink Floyd given the progressive song structures and the heft given to the lyrics. The sprawling tracks on Bonebranches just let you drown out the world and explore a wintry waste. It’s really quite pleasant.
Bloodbark is exactly what I want to listen to. It’s spacey. It’s deep. It’s a metal artist who uses piano effectively without cheapening the whole record. It’s a mature sound for a first record from a metal band. It’s only been out for a few weeks, but I’ve already listened to it a dozen times. If you like head-bobbing atmo-black, go find Bloodbark.