Melancolia – The Dark Reflections Of Your Soul

Q: How pretty can metal be?

A: This pretty.

As one delves deeper and deeper into the metal scene, one frequently becomes preoccupied with ugliness and all its variations. Be it Planet AIDS’ crumbling drone apocalypse, Intestinal Disgorge’s shrieking, gore-drenched musical suicide, or Senthil’s traipses into the realm of utter negativity, it seems that as one discovers more of our music, one distances oneself from simple aesthetic beauty. There does seem to be a revival of sorts in the classical appearance of beauty within metal: the success of artists like Wood Of Ypres can testify that such a concept has not been forgotten. However, I believe that if enough people hear it, Melancolia’s ‘The Dark Reflections Of Your Soul’ will be the album to bring heavy metal back to the purity of heart that now seemingly lies dormant within the community.

Have you ever become so overcome with the beauty of the world that it seems nearly too much for you alone to handle? Have you ever been overwhelmed by sakura blossoms in the spring, by an incredible story in a much-loved book, by conversation with a lover? These are the moments that this album reflects. Entirely devoid of two of what many would say are the most defining elements of metal, darkness and aggression, ‘The Dark Reflections Of Your Soul’ strips away our preconceived notions of what metal should or should not be, and leaves an album of absolute purity yet entrancing complexity. This genuinely is an album that defies any sort of genre classification; while vague words such as ‘progressive’, ‘metal’, or ‘melodic’ can be thrown around, but none of these can truly capture the essence of the music on this recording. Perhaps my previous statement is a misnomer: this album does indeed contain aggression, but it is an aggression born out of fervor and zeal towards life and the very act of living to its fullest. This is absolutely the soundtrack to self-discovery and positive introspection.

Melodies weave in and out and leave trails of glorious musical mist in their wake, and yet possess an stunning fragility to their construction, as if they were each very gently plucked from the sonic aether, hand-picked for what could best represent the very essence of beauty in music. I fear describing the music of this release excessively: I truly believe that too much study of its structure could damage its artistic beauty and leave one unable to fully appreciate what is contained herein. This is not an album for study, for tabbing, for rewinding and analyzing: no, this is an album to wash over you like a wave of pure, concentrated light, that is both fragile and powerful. Elements that will be noticed: melodies that never repeat, only evolve; immensely complex rhythms; songs that have neither beginning nor ending, and like Israel’s Animus only represent a fragment from a greater stream of music. While this album is split into nine seperate tracks, it is actually composed of individual pieces held only loosely together by the most tenuous and airy of keyboard-based ambient segments.

Over and over, I’ve repeated one word to describe this album to friends: pure. It is the essence of what ‘good’ is; not a part of any religious morality, but instead the essence of what is correct and right for the world and for ourselves. Nearly like Lykathea Aflame in this way, Melancolia leaves one feeling refreshed and more ready to face and embrace life’s challenges than ever. I can’t imagine a single person denying the power of tracks like ‘The Taste Of You’, the melodies of which are both ancient and futuristic and could easily be identified with by any listener with an open mind and heart. This is music of passion, of delight in the possibilities of the world, of a willing ignorance of difficulty being a negative thing. This is such a pretty album. Simple yet complex, savage yet passive, everything and nothing at once: an entity of utterly hypnotizing and delighting brilliance.

This is an album that ostensibly took seven years to create. This is not true; ‘The Dark Reflections Of Your Soul’ is beyond time or judgment or linearity: it is instead a timeless thing that has been, is, and shall be: the very essence of what it means to be a human.

(Originally written for http://www.grindingtheapparatus.net)

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~ by noktorn on February 9, 2007.

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