Label: Pagan Records
If anything defines modern Polish black metal, it would be a feeling of melancholy being transmitted by the music, with its distinctive melodies and aura of spiritual darkness. Such bleak sounds can make for a captivating listen, and that’s certainly the case for Path to Ruin, the new EP from Above Aurora. Though only seventeen minutes long, this EP carries a lifetime of sorrow and ill-feeling with it; and yet at no point does it ever sound defeated or self-pitying. This is music that accepts that hardship is part of life, and that there is little point protesting about that basic fact.
As such, it’s hard not to think of Mgla during the course of the EP, and especially of Exercises in Futility. Path to Ruin certainly follows a similar musical course, with disquieting, melancholic melodies weaving in and out of deft, yet powerful drumming. The EP largely sticks to a mid-tempo, but this helps provide it with a sense of weight, both musically and emotionally; this is not blasting, riotous black metal, but something more considered and bleak.
If all of that makes it seems as if Path to Ruin sticks quite closely to the paradigm of modern Polish black metal; well, that’s true. But Above Aurora also possess enough conviction in their songs that this isn’t an issue, and the quality of the song-writing is such that the band can compete with the bigger names of the style. Though it might be music of innate pessimism and a sense of hopelessness, there is still something very addictive about these melodies, and the spacious, mid-tempo atmospheres lend themselves towards hypnotism – it’s easy to find yourself lost in Path to Ruin for hours at a time, despite its short duration.
All of which makes Path to Ruin a record of high quality, despite its relatively short duration. Fans of modern Polish black metal who were not already alerted to the band by their Onwards Desolation debut will want to check this out; whilst those who enjoyed the band’s previous album will surely enjoy this.