Perhaps understandably, the depressive suicidal black metal genre is an area of musical creativity largely untouched by mainstream web magazines such as Sentinel Daily. Portuguese duo Black Howling are seventeen-year veterans of their national scene, and although their relentlessly primitive attack is by no means wholly representative of DSBM, potential listeners to this strand of musical thought may find their music an attractive entrance point.
Second track Celestial Syntropy fuses the spirit of early nineties Norwegian black metal to the band’s normal Iberian superstructure; Simply recorded, though without the forced primitivism often found in artists working today but looking to the past, the raw spirit of the music withstands all but the most rigorous investigation. Listeners looking merely for nostalgic remembrance of times past will find their needs satiated; however Black Howling manage to inject a crisp relevance to their sound, maintaining a vitality of purpose that the well-disposed listener will not fail to respond to.
The two largely instrumental compositions that begin and end the release are perhaps not evidence of the band in microcosm; the central core of the recording, two tracks spanning nearly thirty minutes (Celestial Syntropy and Celestial Entropy) serve rather more to represent the entity that is Black Howling.
Indeed separated as they are by merely a second or two, the pair of tracks offer a cohesive whole that the listener is invited to explore as two sides of a dichotomy. The first raw, the second beginning almost soothingly before again giving itself to the swirling maelstrom. Taken singly, the compositions are powerful, yet together they transcend such effectively fruitless description. This is music that cannot be judged as other music is judged, clearly. As a work of art it stands stark, above contemplation yet inspiring just that.
Casual listening is perhaps not an option for artists such as Black Howling. Rather, the spectator/listener is asked to immerse fully in the complete gamut of soundscapes offered; only then is appreciation approached and achieved.
Return of Primordial Stillness is out now.