It’s getting to be that time of the year again in the Northern hemisphere. The transition from late fall to early winter will be upon us soon. The seasons, they’re a-changin’. The costume parties are starting, the pumpkin beers and pumpkin pie and pumpkin ice cream and, of course, pumpkin spice lattes are coming back out of the woodwork, and, of course, the days are getting shorter, colder, and darker. The sky is some sort of malignant, evil gray and the trees are shedding their now-golden leaves. Of course, it goes without saying that as the days change, one’s music will probably change too in accordance to said weather.

Personally, from about October to February, I start listening to a lot more sludge, black metal, and, of course, blackened sludge. I suspect I’m not alone in this, either, since the bleak, gray atmosphere is a perfect match for the bleak, gray melancholia of the music. Which is why I’d like to present a band that’s been on my mind recently: Archivist.

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Their dark and deeply sobering usage of the traditional sludge elements, combined with a healthy dose of ethereally-minded black metal adds up to a mixture steeped in beauty but tempered in gloom and melancholy; drums rumble and roll from slow crashes into frenetic blast beats with a mountainous grace as the guitars rain fiery death from above in the forms of power chords, either in slow chugs or tremolos. The melodies are sweet and nostalgic, combining sadness and placid catharsis in a way that only blackened sludge can seem to do. Their semi-self-titled debut LP, ARCHIVIST, came out back in June, at the beginning of summer, but it’s beyond appropriate for this time of the year.

Akin to peers Downfall of Gaia and Hope Drone, their mix of elements from both camps leaves little to be desired for those who want a sobering fusion of the earthly and spacey sides of more ambient metal. Beautiful touches of pianos and synth tie this album together into a package that’s something like watching a footage of a tornado, or seeing images of blazing meteor showers: it mixes destruction and sadness with beauty into a totally unique feeling, perfect for the change between winter and fall. We all need some calm catharsis at this time of the year, and Archivist are more than happy to provide.

-SH

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