Today I want to tell you about an upcoming split album by Ah Ciliz and Chiral called “Origins”, which was granted to me for free by band members of Ah Ciliz for reviewing. This album is to be released on November 6 via Hypnotic Dirge Records, an independent non-profit Canadian music label. You probably already know about this label by their amazing releases of Mavradoxa and Kval I reviewed earlier. This release is also available via Throats Productions, an underground black metal label from Mexico which you may know by my Pure Wrath review.
“Origins” is a 5-song (3 from Ah Ciliz and 2 from Chiral) masterpiece heavily influenced by such bands as Lustre, Agalloch, Mavradoxa, Windbruch and others. Bands are organically complementing each other and diversifying the sound of “Origins”. While Ah Ciliz is somewhat lucid and celestial, Chiral is more depressive, angry and down-to-earth band. I’ve noticed a slight influence of early Dimmu Borgir works on Ah Ciliz sound. You may say that Dimmu Borgir isn’t that TRVE and CVLT, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that their “For All Tid” and un-remastered “Stormblåst” were really good atmospheric/symphonic albums.
[quote align=”” name=”Ah Ciliz”]
I gaze into cosmic horizons
Across waves of astral seas
Beyond heaven realms
Secret celestial keys
Ah Ciliz guitars came really close to the iconic sound of these early releases, which you can clearly hear in the opening song “Cascadia”, for example.
I consider it as a strong advantage of this release. In contrast to this, Chiral guitars are harsher and more raw black metal oriented.
As both bands are positioning themselves as an atmospheric black metal, you can expect acoustic parts, keyboards and other stuff in their songs. It’s very interesting how Ah Ciliz is using these elements: they are not an addition to the main theme, but the important part of a whole song. Contrary to Ah Ciliz, Chiral is more oriented on a guitar and vocal parts of the song while keyboards are somehow backgrounded.
[quote align=”” name=”Chiral”]
I was surrounded by the snow
While the whole world slept unconscious
As a pale white blanket lashed by winds
This empty land lives in silence unseen
[accordion title=”Ah Ciliz”]
Ah Ciliz started as a solo project in 2008 with original member Elmer handling all instruments and releasing the first Demo in 2009. In 2009 session drummer Cadavre (Grimlair) joined the band to provide drums for 2 tracks on the first full-length album “Reawakening Ancient Sorrow” released in 2011 through Schattenkult Produktionen. Kyle Stone provided drums for a bonus track titled “Over the Andes”. Bon Vincent Fry (Lamentations of the Ashen, Jagged Mouth) joined the band in 2011 to become the first full-time drummer in Ah Ciliz. In 2012 the second full length “Led Astray” was released through Le Crépuscule du Soir Productions. Bon was unable to continue with Ah Ciliz to focus on his other projects and was replaced soon after by Marco Ceccarelli (Deadly Carnage, Hanging Garden, Nostalgie). Marco and Elmer recorded 2 full-length albums “Umbra” and “Absurd Aspirations” in addition to the split “Old Withered Lands” with California’s Griefthorn. Both Umbra and Absurd Aspirations were self-released in digital format in 2014 and hopefully release in physical format in 2017. Marco Ceccarelli left the band around 2014 to focus on his main project Deadly Carnage but makes a guest appearance on “Origins” in the song Cascadia which is the last song to be recorded with Ah Ciliz. In 2016 Elmer decided to step down from vocal duties and enlisted Belgium vocalist Boris Iolis (L’Hiver en Deuil, Marche Funèbre, Soul Dissolution). Boris performs vocals on “Origins”.
2009 — Reawakening Ancient Sorrow (Demo)
2011 — Reawakening Ancient Sorrow
2012 — Led Astray
2014 — Old Withered Lands [Split w/ Griefthorn]
2014 — Umbra
2014 — Absurd Aspirations
2017 — Origins [Split w/Chiral] (Yet to be released)
During Fall 2016, passing through 2 demos, 2 split albums, 1 EP and 2 full-lengths, Chiral will release his new record, offering his new personal approach to black metal in the “Italian way”. His compositions shine of a dim light dwelling through the branches, alternating solar as well as gloomy moments. Folkish instruments are used to guide the listener through contemplation, while gentle veils of synths are crafting a misty and mysterious aura. If the dreamy and hypnotic atmospheres of Lustre met the breathless wonder of Fall of Rauros’ melodies and the wild-raw guitar lines of Wolves In The Throne Room that would be probably what Chiral sounds like. Chiral is an Italian one-man band, from the countryside near Piacenza, set up at the end of 2013. Chiral incorporates musical elements of the North-West USA Cascadian Black Metal (like Wolves In The Throne Room and Agalloch), atmospheric as well as raw black metal influences (such as Burzum and Ulver) with a special taste for acoustic instruments by the likes of Opeth and Falls of Rauros. Latter inspirations came directly from mammoth post-rock acts by the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Caspian and MONO. The lyrical themes are mainly based on introspection, nature, solitude, pain, death and love. Fall of 2016 sees the release of “Gazing Light Eternity”, Chiral’s third long-awaited full-length album. “Gazing Light Eternity” is introduced as the natural consequence of Chiral’s previous work, “Night Sky”. Even though the new album walks in a similar pathway of its predecessor, it definitely shows a more mature nuance of the black art, gently infused with post-rock and ambient music. 2017 sees Chiral joining the fellow act, Ah Ciliz, in an intense, nature-themed atmospheric black metal split, “Origins”. Chiral provided two newly-recorded tracks, that were originally written in the pre-“Night Sky” era.
2014 — Winter Eternal [DEMO] (Depressive Illusions Records)
2014 — Abisso [DEMO] (digital self-released)
2014 — Where Mountains Pierce The Nightsky [split with HaatE] (Sixsixsixmusic digital release only)
2015 — Abisso (Black Plague Records)
2015 — Sed Auiis [split w/Eternal Spell and Neber Uber Den Urnenfeldern] (Sixsixsixmusic)
2015 — Night Sky (Self-released) (Re-released by Pest Productions)
2016 — Snow//Heritage [EP] (Self-released)
2016 — Gazing Light Eternity (Self-released)
2017 — Origins [split w/ Ah Ciliz] (Yet to be released)
- Moonlight in Night Season
- People of The Stars
- A Feeble Glare of Autumn
- Queen of The Setting Sun
Solos. In addition to the already listed, I want to note amazing guitar solos which are uncommon for black metal. It makes the sound even more diverse.
Quality. Songs are well recorded and mixed. Drums are angry and powerful, vocals are well-audible and guitars simply do their job without drawing attention from other parts of songs.
I wasn’t able to find any serious disadvantages of this release. “Origins” is a solid album with everything you probably expect from the atmospheric black metal release. A little bit repetitive, but it’s not a problem of this album, but a problem of the whole genre. it’s hard to get rid of a thought that you’ve already heard this somewhere before.
I would highly recommend you “Origins” as a good and thoughtful release of this autumn. Everyone will be able to find something notable: cosmic atmosphere, angry guitars, tearing vocals. You can pre-order “Origins” here.
Images courtesy of Ah Ciliz/Chiral via hypnoticdirgerecords.bandcamp.com