As amazing as it’s been to have such a torrent of amazing releases this year, the volume has a downside, evident in my relationship with the latest release from one-man Portuguese black metal act Black Cilice. I scribbled down Mysteries on an “Albums to Spin” list at some point this year, but it wasn’t until this past week that I saw the album cover on my feed and remembered that it existed. As a huge fan of Darkthrone both in sound and style, the minimalist, traditional-BM approach of a white figure on solid black caught my attention, and I assumed that the music within was something cold and bleak. Not wanting to forget once again, I Googled Mysteries, found a full album stream and realized that I’d made a considerable mistake for sleeping on the album for this long. Head past the jump to avoid the same fate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i22qwMAJGqQ

Mysteries sounds exactly like I imagined it would, and I mean that in the best way possible. Most of my favorite modern BM bands pervert the genre is some way, but I almost always have at least a slight urge for some raw, no-frills, depressive BM that makes me want to drown myself in snow. There’s something strange about Black Cilice that intrigues me, though, being the project’s choice of vocals. At first, it wasn’t all that apparent that there were any at all, but as I drifted away from my work and zoned into the music, I was greeted by a low, droning whistle that occasionally peered through the BM romp. I can’t find even a pseudonym for Black Cilice’s mastermind, but whoever they are, their approach to recording vocals leads to a fittingly frigid sound resembling winter wind. It may take some getting used to, but I ultimately found it to be an immersive factor on the album. Ultimately, that’s what this style of BM is meant to do: force submission to an icy trance. And to my knowledge, Mysteries may be the highest quality helping of this subgenre that you’ll discover this year.

Mysteries is available now through Iron Bonehead Productions and may be purchased here.

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