Profound Lore Records has always held plenty of great metal acts in the palms of its hands, including Agalloch
, and Altar Of Plagues
. New York black metal duo The Howling Wind
is no exception. Forming from other numerous metal acts such as Unearthly Trance
as Drifting Collision
around 2006, these guys hit the metal scene pretty hard with their vicious black metal onslaughts. After the release of a few records, including âPestilence Peril
â in 2007 and âInto the Cryosphere
â in 2010, The Howling Wind
managed to attract some attention among the metal masses. However, that recognition now ought to rise even more, now that theyâve released their third full-length record, âOf Babalon
.â This duo has returned in 2012
with some new and haunting black metal tunes that should not be ignored.
The musicianship in âOf Babalon
â is nothing totally complex and technical, but thereâs no need for that for the type of music this band plays, either. The vocals mainly consist of high-pitch snarls that sound like they were recorded in the darkest corners of a cavern. They also completely fit the atmospheric and gloomy mood of the music itself. The guitar work is probably the largest highlight of the bandâs musicianship, with nightmarish melodic and catastrophic tunes that make the music incredibly gripping, if not horror-inducing. In tracks such as âGraal
,â the guitar work spirals into a ghastly whirlwind, sucking the listeners into a dimension of pure terror. Lastly, the drums are pretty solid and simple, but it accompanies the rest of the music well. Overall, the musicianship in âOf Babalon
â sees no true downsides.
Unlike in their previous efforts, The Howling Wind
seems to be stepping away from their doom metal roots from their other works. Ryan Lipynsky, who does the vocals, guitars, and bass for the band, has been involved in doom metal projects such as Unearthly Trance
and Serpentine Path, and that influence could really be seen in âPestilence Peril
â and âInto the Cryosphere
.â However, in exchange for that, the band has started to truly embrace the atmospheric and bleak side of the black metal world. This alone is a great leap forward for this band, because it really enhances the haunting tone that their music always had. âThe Mountain
Viewâ and âGraal
â demonstrate this best. âThe Mountain
Viewâ opens with a gloomy and sluggish march of echoing guitars before evolving into a vicious typhoon of raw and unrelenting black metal, and âGraal
â drags the listener kicking and screaming into the horrible abyss. On the other hand, tracks such as âScaling the Wallsâ are not as vicious as the others, but the dark atmosphere is still there, and it ultimately ties the tracks together just nicely. âOf Babalon
â is simply loaded with haunting and vile black metal tracks, and itâs all incredibly definitive of its eerie genre.
â may very well be one of the most eerie records to have crawled out of the black metal swamp. Even the lyrics have a demonic story behind them. They eloquently tell the stories of an English occultist named Aleister Crowley, who is also nicknamed âThe Great Beast 666
.â They mainly focus on the Scarlet
Woman Babalon (Hence the album title and the scarlet-red artwork), who is also known as âthe Mother of Abominations.â This type of lyrics obviously matches the sinister metal madness found in this record, and it makes the concept of the album more intriguing as well. The music is raw, creepy, well-crafted, and extremely dark, and the tracks are distinct enough from each other, making the album much more interesting and gripping to listen to. Any fan of black metal should give âOf Babalon
â a shot. This black metal duo really shows its true and horrifying colors in this record, and itâs official: The Howling Wind
has unveiled to the world one of the most superbly terrifying metal albums ever created this year.