|Review: Yahar'gul - Yahar'gul|
Label: Night Rhythm Recordings
Year released: 2018
Originally released in: 2017
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: January 27, 2021
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (6 Votes)
It's interesting to me that of all the mediums that have served as the inspiration for Metal, video games are the least mined vein. A big part of this is that they're younger than, say, books and movies, but it might also be because there's really only a handful of popular games that have both a proper aesthetic to draw from and enough written material to use as the base for your band's themes. I bring all this up because Yathar'gul are one of the few bands I know of that effectively do that, in this case taking their name and lyrical themes from the video game Bloodborne and wrapping them up in a heavily melodic strain of Black Metal. The album is split between chaotic blasting not too dissimilar from what Emperor used to do when they were any good and moodier sections that lean heavily on epic, almost folksy melodies, all of which do a pretty solid job capturing the atmosphere of entropy and cosmic horror that the game evokes. The production reflects this a bit, as it's rather rough and mixes everything together closely enough to create a violent wall of sound in the faster sections while also allowing enough room to give all the instruments room to shine. The vocals are an exception to this, as they're very far back in the mix and often barely audible throughout, likely a deliberate choice to evoke some eldritch horror peering through the veil or something, but it instead makes me wonder how necessary they are to the songs in question. The first half of this album is the better half, with the massive opener "Celestial Emissary" and "Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos" being vicious and evocative tracks while the remaining songs feel like they could have used a minute or two of development to really take off and instead end rather abruptly. There hasn't been much word from the project since 2018, so I have no idea if we'll be hearing from them again, but if this is anything to go off of, I'd love to hear what a more fleshed-out version of this EP would be like. For now, this remains a curiosity that should appeal to fans of Black Metal and Bloodborne alike.
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