• 深山 / Deep Mountain - 忘忧湖 / Lake of Solace (2014) - Charming Chinese traditions in a neofolk garment - 90% (07/09/14)

    深山 / Deep Mountain - 忘忧湖 / Lake of Solace

    Deep Mountain is an interesting black metal band from Tai’an, Shandong province in the People’s Republic of China because this quartet almost has nothing to do with metal music whatsoever. The three men and one woman mostly play laid back acoustic neofolk music that evokes strong feelings and relates a lot to nature in general. Fans of bands such as Dornenreich, Empyrium, Opeth or Ulver should dig this kind of music. 

    Many songs are harmonious and make you feel at peace with the world. The mysteriously sacral “Intro” and the laid back and optimistic acoustic guitar driven last track “Li Fenghua” really close the circle on this release. 

    Other songs are more desperate and nihilistic and can include occasional black metal shrieks and noisy guitar walls. An interesting example is the epic “Detachment” that includes a few English vocal samples taken from a movie that describe the desperate situation of women in relation to abuse at work and excessive beauty ideals suggested by the media.

    Some tracks like the majestic “Sin” include both elements. Beautiful acoustic guitar harmonies and mysteriously whispered vocals meet more plodding and noisy riffs and impressive emotional outburst. The title song “Lake Of Solace” in two parts has a similar tone that also recalls the Chinese colleagues from Esthète Sinistre. There are more and more profound black metal bands coming from this country.

    A standout track on this release is definitely the harmonious “Ballad Of River Nai”. It features nature sounds such as water drops that make the track feel really authentic. These field recordings meet acoustic guitar harmonies which are simple yet liberating. The short song is crowned by traditional female vocals that recall ancient Chinese mores that I happen to admire much. For me, this song is a nostalgic piece of magic.

    To conclude, “Lake Of Solace” is a profound, nature-bound and emotional soundtrack to plunge into. It’s the kind of sophisticated yet pure grower that evokes numerous images on your mind. It’s an album you should experience when you’re walking alone through autumnal landscapes. Neofolk and post-black metal fans should definitely try this album out as I haven’t discovered a better genre release this year so far.

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