Label: Nordvis Produktion
Whilst most bands that seek to offer praise to certain musical time periods end up feeling like little more than tired copies of those that came before, there are some bands who manage to clearly hearken back to an earlier time without being a simple imitation. Over The Voids can be counted amongst that small number, with their self-titled album clearly recalling the dark, mysterious nature of mid-90’s black metal; but at the same time, the album never sounds as if it is ever content to simply repeat what others have done before it, adding aspects of atmospheric black metal in to the mix. As such, it is an individualistic take on a highly imitated style of black metal, conjuring a melancholic, captivating aura over its 37 minute duration.
Given that sole member The Fall has served time as a live member of Mgla, as well as playing in Medico Peste, it is perhaps unsurprising that Over The Voids has such a strong sense of melody and melancholy, as many of the modern Polish black metal bands do. Yet despite this unmistakable Polish character, the spirit of mid-90’s Scandinavian black metal is also strong throughout the album. The melodies are as inspired by Transylvanian Hunger as they are Bergtatt, with the forest-dwelling spirit of the later album also making itself known through occasional acoustic sections that grant Over The Voids additional textures and contrasts that are often lacking in black metal. These sections also help demonstrate the depth of ambition and talent on display during Over The Voids – whilst the album may clearly be drawing strongly from the second wave of black metal, it is not content to simply pay homage to those sounds and bands, but is instead seeking to carve out its own identity. That it does so in such a crowded scene is worthy of praise.
What is also highly worthy of praise is the atmosphere that Over The Voids creates. Comprised of four songs, ranging from 6 to 14 and a half minutes, this is an album that draws the listener in to its dark, desolate aura, with the songs having plenty of time to first summon the required atmosphere, and then to offer variations on it . It may be intentionally hypnotic, but it is far from boring or repetitive, being equally suited for actively engaging with the music, or for letting it wash over you and carry you on esoteric journeys of the mind and soul.
Though it is relatively short for an album of this nature, Over The Voids still has much to offer, and is the kind of album the demands, and rewards, repeat listens. It is perfectly suited for this cold winter evenings, playing on repeat until the small hours. It burns with a singular artistic vision and fire, and it is perhaps this more than anything else which raises Over The Voids above many of its contemporaries. This is an album filled with unmistakable spirit, that may be cold and melancholic in nature, but is still full of passion and desire.