The trio, consisting of Jabawock on the guitars and bass, Acharan delivering the lead vocals and Threnos behind the drums, started back in 2012 following their idols like Agalloch or Alcest; since then they released two full-lengths and a couple of EPs with “Winter Contemplation” (out since Mid-November) being their latest. Two tracks and 24 minutes of pure atmospheric black metal magic later, the author of these lines is convinced that Soul Dissolution might become the next big thing (if they become a bit more productive).
On the two tracks you will find all the elements necessary for good black metal with a strong emphasis on atmosphere and moods. A lot of that is due to Jabawock’s fine guitar work which is dragging behind on doomy feet when necessary and then again can spirals out instantaneously. And it’s exactly these moments, when the lead guitar takes off and drives off into psychedelic or post-rocky moments that Soul Dissolution are at their best. Which shall not imply that the work by Threnos or Acharan are in any way less important. But for atmospheric black metal the guitar work is the most important and also the tuning and sound of the guitar. For example, Jabawock uses his guitar like a synth in some parts of the first song “La Dernière Tempete” (‘The Last Storm’) and then transfers to last part of the track with some nice guitar pickings that have just that tiny bit of reverb in order to imitate the echo of a nice middle-sized Gothic cathedral – open in motif, but enclosed in area.
Interestingly, after the initial two spins I would have thought that the second track “Where the Clouds stand Still...” (yes, this track has an English title!) was my favorite but after listening to the whole EP again and again I must admit that both tracks stand out among a lot of post-black, blackgaze or atmospheric black metal tracks heard over the years. Of course, the influence of folk-oriented bands like Agalloch is obvious on that second track with is semi-acoustic guitar pickings and cello intros. One has the feeling of watching the sun rise over the top of some snow-capped mountains somewhere in the far distance.
Soul Dissolution might not be the innovators of a genre with long trodden paths but there are near-impeccable emulators of everything that makes this genre enjoyable. “Winter Contemplations” are the perfect soundtrack for the darkening days where we feel less and less warmth. Interestingly, the music is less dark and sinister as some people might say, but it is able to radiate a lot of warmth.
The only thing the band should work on are the lyrics as they display quite a lot of the stereotypes that are too often found in black metal. Of course, happy lyrics are not wished for but some of the phrases used here have been heard just too often – the storms, the torrents, the snow. If they work on that – then I predict this band to become bigger than most of their Belgian neighbors.