Let’s start with the obvious: Rasmus Ejlersen (or R.) knows how to write really good songs. They are deep, atmospheric and breathe a lot of life and images. A glance at the tracklist can make one scratch his head: “+, Prologue, ?, ?, ?, ?, Epilogue” are the song titles which hint at some kind of movement and story, hell even some kind of frame to the whole record with “Prologue” and “Epilogue”. And if one digs a little deeper, this storyline becomes even clearer, for example when “Prologue” has the lyrics “The water withdraws and hides / Proclaiming my acceptance” or “Calmly I gaze towards the path / Appearing before me”. But where will it lead the narrator? And then it hits when looking deeper at the lyrics: “? , ? ” are also symbolic representations of the content: the “?” seems to symbolize the smoke of the fire moving up, a fire that burns from within the narrator, while “? ” mentions that the narrator is being “dragged further down” and the same symbology can be seen for the other two songs; “? ” mentions “the ocean floor” below the water line, “? ” talks about the earth behind pulled up by strong winds and the narrator being buried beneath it at the same time. Finally, the “Epilogue” has the narrator admitting that he has “brought this upon myself… Now the sun is dead / And the day went black”. Quite a lot to digest and think about, thinking man’s black metal.
Musically, one cannot deny the power of the songs as they really draw one into their realms. He is combining some of the fine moments of early Scandinavian Black Metal, note “Prologue”, with some very nice post-black metal moments, as in the third track where the arpeggios spiral higher and higher while the drums slow down and the song exhales thunderous storms on the cliffs of some Danish coastline. One has the feeling that R. tried to make music that sounds as if it coming down upon the listener – mind you it is not overwhelming as such, it is rather showering the ears in warm, brilliant music than embracing you. That is something that Udånde has in common with their labelmates Ultha who are also able to give you the feeling of understanding you, supporting you and trying to help you up by giving you something to aim at.
The vocals are interestingly a lot like The Ruins of Beverast, deep and with a lot of growls but only randomly a classic black metal scream. This narrator surely knows that it’s his own fault that the end has been brought upon himself by himself, so this is more resignation and less despair, which is the most adequate way.
This combination of uplifting music and downtrodden melancholic lyrics is a trademark of many good atmospheric black metal who incorporate post-rock elements into classical black metal structures. Life Of A Purist is surely an album that makes it easy to not be objective as it has so many trademarks that make a good record that will keep you listening closely and thinking eagerly.