Blood of the Black Owl

A Banishing Ritual

Written by: EW on 06/03/2010 21:12:36

Another Bindrune Recording, and another mind-altering hypnotic experience. Seattle residents Blood of the Black Owl here on third album "A Banishing Ritual" practice a sound both punishing and cathartic to listen to in a style nestled somewhere amongst the genres of black ambient, funeral doom and drone, and with one song spanning it's 41-minute duration it's no easy ride, having taken me a number of listens to fully comprehend the spiritual and evocative meanings locked up within it.

The press release states this album as an "outpouring of emotions and [a] cleansing of past stains on ones life"; a description that while more pertinent to the feelings of it's creators can still be viewed empathetically in the deeply emotive and transcendental layers across the album. Beginning with a long droning introduction and the sound of faint guitar strumming coming ever more into the mix against a backdrop of radiation-like noise, an invoking sense of terror is hard to avoid as the piece slowly comes into life, implanting all the while images in my mind of vast, dark natural landscapes being overcome by forces too great for it's own good.

This tone eventually changes around the 8-minute mark to include both industrial sounding drumming as well as the first evidence of a discernible rhythm from some folk-sounding percussion that is as difficult to describe as it can be to listen to. As the song moves onwards we are introduced to a flute-like woodwind instrument and echoing, cavernous vocals before after 13 minutes the first signs of 'metal' appear with the drumming taking a more common shape behind a bass-heavy pure doom metal riff, showcasing the variety of influences that have gone into BotBO's sound. Direct comparisons is difficult in the explaining of this but with it's ranges from Sunn O))) drone, Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine and Asunder ponderous funeral doom, Jotunspor nihilistic ambience and the strained folk soundings of Wardruna, "A Banishing Ritual" has the potential to appeal to a wide cross-section of extreme music fans as an alternative and experimental album with huge depth in scope and sound.

The last 25 minutes exude a dissonant spooky sound with the style set similar to the droning soundscape on show earlier taken to the fore. In the midst of losing all sense of time the repeated, distorted vocal lines of "I consume your hate", reminding me of Celtic Frost's "Monotheist" record, suggest a sense of painful release for those behind the Blood of the Black Owl exterior as the minutes crawl by, slowly shifting the patterns of the music blissfully ignorant of the need for any defined song structures or tempos to engage the listener in. This dirge in tempo is obviously not going to be for everyone, and neither is "A Banishing Ritual" listening suited for all occasions, but it's abstract nature and vast levels of inertia have made for me a subtly powerful listen and an album I would recommend for those with a tendency for left-field musical choices and the need for musical accompaniment when one is feeling morose and alone.

Download: Irrelevant!
For The Fans Of: Sunn O))), Wardruna, Asunder
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 01.03.2010
Bindrune Recordings

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