The Pacific Northwest region in the United States continues to prove utterly extraordinary for its boundary pushing, intense heavy music output, with luminaries from the region ranging from Wolves In The Throne Room to Helms Alee. Now, the Washington-based act Awenden unveil their own captivating and epic post-black metal on their currently available self-titled release. Even as they freely inject atmosphere into their arrangements, passion shines through clearly in every note from those peaks to the menacing mania that’s never too far behind. The band describe themselves as antifascist black metal, which feels reflected in a real, humanly relatable sense that shines through and makes their music especially poignant, besides being a welcome counter to those on the opposite side of the spectrum who the internet has given way too much space to grow their infamy. Awenden’s music feels like taking a journey into a wilderness out beyond the mania that oppressive society has wrought, which gives those partaking of this music a chance to really reflect on the nature of what’s going on under the destruction’s looming shadow.
There’s a lot of space for that kind of intense, heavy reflection thanks to Awenden not overly relying on vocal arrangements to make their point. There’s probably much more time this record spends without any vocals at all than with them present. The perfectly hypnotic music itself really gets a chance to shine, incorporating the blistering intensity that is there into a journey into the ether to find some power, which makes an appearance right off the bat on Awenden. Ultimately, neither the raw power nor the atmosphere ever really get pared down. Instead, they’re mixed together into an irresistible mixture that sucks you further in the longer you listen.
The band display a remarkable technical range, launching their self-titled release with a pair of almost nine minute tracks that are rather straightforward in terms of their huge-feeling melodic, atmospheric metal before descending into a noisy short midpoint that heralds the arrival of further focused manic intensity on the aptly named fourth track “A Scourge on the Earth.” These diverse elements come together for the epic conclusion.
You can get a physical copy of the release from the Massachusetts-based label Realm and Ritual, which is offering tapes as they’ve done with a number of other poignant black metal releases from around the world, including those under the antifascist banner.
Stream the release — and click through to get the tape — below.