Released: 2005, Suffering Jesus
If ever there was a place that I’d be surprised to find a black metal band from, it would be Saskatchewan, Canada. But this is where Beyond the Ninth Wave hail from. The band is a new project of Nirnaeth Arnoediad member, Morder with a guest appearance by fellow Nirnaeth Arnoediad member Herr Diederichs. This first release, VOLUME 1, was a late 2005 release via Suffering Jesus (this being one of the label’s first releases).
Beyond the Ninth Wave’s debut release is in the vein of the “suicidal” black metal scene that seems to have caught on rather quickly as of late. The most common comparisons I’ve seen from the label’s site, as well as reviews is to early Burzum, Leviathan, Xasthur and the like and when one listens to the album it’s hard not to think of those bands (though my experience with Xasthur is limited at best). The production is much of what one might expect with the somewhat lo-fi sound that is very high on the treble but in general, VOLUME 1 sounds much clearer than most with the bass guitar cutting through the mix many times and the drums aren’t completely drowned out by a whirlwind of guitars.
VOLUME 1 starts off, to me, rather weak in the knees with on “Schwarzwald/In the Company of Wolves”. The song starts off unassuming with the sound of the wind and wolves and a subtle acoustic guitar but these are shed shortly for a more upbeat tempo accompanied by standard tremolo riffs. The song doesn’t become interesting ‘till around 3:52 seconds when the song calms down and the guitars mingle with bass as well as acoustics layered nicely overtop, unfortunately this section only leads into another blasting section; I think the piece could have been explored further. It’s on the second track, “Crossing the Pyriphlegethon” that things are really taken to the next level. While the song starts off quickly it isn’t long before a longer, drawn out riff is used in an almost doom-like manner and the drums provide an ample amount of groove. The song does pick up again but it works as the slower section was given ample time and helps accentuate the speed. One mustn’t forget to notice Morder’s screaming that is almost completely incoherent, yet works to accent the song.
“Suicidal Winter” is another slower number and works well in its much somber mood. I find I enjoy the way the bass and drums work together underneath the slow tremolo riff and find that they help create the overall mood better than the guitar does. “The Haunting” opens up harsh and fast, in the same way the opening track does but this time the drums feel like they’re competing with the guitars for dominance as they seem to roll more and create a much angrier feel. Morder’s vocals here seem to have little to do with the music around them, almost creating a completely different rhythm that opposes the music going on around them. Another interesting thing to notice is how the guitar track in the right side deteriorates into complete feedback around 2:40, in an attempt create an even harsher feel I’m left to presume.
VOLUME 1 is a solid black metal release from 2005. While Beyond the Ninth Wave’s style generally isn’t my favourite this album has found its way into semi-regular rotation in my playlist, which must be commended. The most interesting thing about the album for me, is when Morder plays within the slower tempos as he seems to be well adept at creating different moods and feels within them. It will be interesting to see what both Beyond the Ninth Wave and Suffering Jesus will have instore for fans in the future.