Released: 2011, Lifeforce
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Hailing from the harshest, grim and frostbitten terrain of Kalamazoo, Michigan comes the five-piece pack of black metal wolves otherwise known as Winterus. IN CARBON MYSTICISM is the debut full length release from Winterus, though it could also be viewed as an EP I suppose, as three of the nine tracks are live bonus cuts.
A bleak and vacant sounding instrumental piece titled "Lone Wolves" kicks things off and may have you second guessing the overall metallic might of Winterus. My first impression was "The album cover certainly suggests black metal, but what the fuck is up with this avant-garde jibberish on track one? Does the whole disc sound like this?"
Thankfully, the answer to that question is "No". No, it most certainly does not as demonstrated by second track "Reborn" with it's blast beat heavy drumming, scornful tremolo-picked riff assault and most guttural of necro vocals. At first I wasn't sure if the heavily triggered drums where real or not, as they are extremely precise and almost machine like. After several repeated listens, I've come to the conclusion that they are just barely human enough to be feasibly possible, and I mean that as a huge compliment for drummer Cody McCoy.
"No Rest" is an all instrumental exercise in extreme metal technicality, not sure why the decision was made not to include vocals into the many twists and turns of this visceral labyrinth of a track. Vocals re-enter the equation on "Harmonious" a song with sort of a folk influence, working the dynamic range well by compounding BM machinist blasts amongst acoustic strummed open chords and reverb heavy lead melodies. The final studio track up for grabs is "Eternal Ghost" a haunting mid tempo number with varied vocal approaches, melodies rich in atmospheric qualities. The three bonus live tracks are average to adequate sounding, when you factor in that three of the nine tracks are instrumental and another three are live tracks, than at that point you might wonder if this debut full length from Winterus was kind of a rushed job. Could they have not held off releasing this in place of a complete package?
I will say that the music penned for IN CARBON MYSTICISM should receive a passing grade, the performances are all top notch, the artwork is passable and the production is exactly what you'd expect from this genre. My only real gripe with this release would be pawning off this mish-mosh collection of instrumentals and live tracks as a full fledged debut full length when it is clearly lacking in that regard.