Epitimia Perform Emotionally Frigid Post-Black Metal On Captivating New Album

Allusion, the latest record from the long-running Russian post-black metal project Epitimia, feels strikingly soul-chilling.

The group seems to blend a kind of raging, raw black metal sensibility with aching emotion, ultimately highlighting and amplifying both elements. There’s a distinctly chilly feeling in the icily confrontational tones across much of the record, and Epitimia shape these tones into deeply compelling portraits of emotional unrest.

The music feels absolutely piercing and emotionally devastating, as if the album explores the haggard emotional state of getting trapped out on some barren, snow-covered wasteland with shrieking winds whipping across the horizon. The group explores some of the somberly pensive undercurrents of raging instability, as if struggling against some painful emotional winds. The monumentally crushing, desperation-wracked rhythms feel like sinking into the snow and crying out with no one to hear as the bitter cold sets in. That broad feeling, of course, could apply well outside of metaphorical snow scenarios; the self-assured devastation that underpins Allusion seems like a potentially widely applicable scenario. Allusion feels like chest-clutching waves of melancholy, put to sound.

There’s plenty of space to breathe within the world of Allusion — most of the songs clock in above seven minutes — which makes the onslaught inescapable. The group sounds unrelenting, as if capturing the unrelenting fury of a forgotten wasteland itself, intermingling this gusto with the soul-crushing experience of unforgivingly icy horizons that seemingly extend endlessly. After a couple of segments of slower, mournful riffing on “Clue II: Melencolia,” Epitimia place pointedly somber elements on fuller display on “Clue III: Waiting for the Doom.” After a blistering opening few minutes, follow-up track “Clue IV: I Aspire Like a Bird” suddenly moves into somberly gentle, acoustic guitar-led melody. Although the textures shift, a similar vibe seems to run through the whole record.

Across the latter half of the record, comparatively slower tempos emerge, culminating in the brisk shoegazey instrumentation that opens the album’s majestically shimmering concluding track, “Clue VII: Post Scriptum,” which carries a hint of closure, even if not catharsis. Overall, Epitimia sound thick and their performances feel lush and rich, but their sound seems unclean enough to fill out the experience, like a sonic wall of blinding snow to step right into. There’s a lot of forceful power in the group’s underlying melodies, and their energetic, searing performances spread this power out. Allusion carries the breadth of genuine emotion.

5/5 Stars

Listen below! Allusion is available via Onism Productions.