With protuberating components of melodic and epic Black Metal permeating a very delusional degree of convulsive, but somewhat whimsically arranged elements easily intrinsic to their music, Sojourner gives us a very exhilarating new kind of artistic Black Metal, with an impressive expansion of folk influences, properly arranged in the correct places. Creating a transcendental atmosphere of calmness, that reverberates in the delightful melodies of their music an enormous sense of journey throughout the past, Sojourner achieves a very audacious level of an experimental poetic musical approach, delivering an excellent mixture of tradition with their own musical identity. Astoundingly liberating with the beauty of female vocals on the right places a rewarding contrast to the more aggressive guttural vocals that delineates the structure of their sublime harmonies, perfectly counterbalancing the heavy side of their music with the inconspicuous serenity that evokes a calm atmosphere of refreshing balance into their songs, Sojourner gives even to the harsh parts of their music a dilapidated glamour of unrestrained positive result, that easily claims a remarkable degree of originality to their sound.
With seven tracks, being them Bound by Blood, Heritage of the Natural Realm, Aeons of Valor, The Pale Host, Homeward, Trails of the Earth, and the eponymous Empires of Ash, we have almost one full hour of an innovative imperial journey throughout a transcendental and mythical past, that propels its listeners to wander through ancient ruins, empty castles, empires reverberating a colossal nothingness inside their vain glories, ghostly shadows chanting the sorrows of unfulfilled and despicable emotions, and a lot of other sensible and very enchanting qualities, that gives their music a very inspiring feeling of monumental exhilaration.
Empires of Ash may give birth to a very peculiar kind of Black Metal, Folk Black Metal – so to speak – although it is better to left their music unlabeled, and their fresh level of creativity unrestrained. Masterly inserting into a BM ambience elusive, but subtle elements of power metal as well, Sojourner gives the underground community a very incredible, elaborated and intricate work, that certainly could be regarded as one of the best releases of 2016. A very fine, lucid and detailed album, the final result is a refined record, with a very serious and comprehensible personal artistic proposition, that walks towards a reverberant personalization of style and shapes a very peculiar identity of sound composition.
It is also worthwhile to point it out that Sojourner’s emphasis on folk elements reshapes our understanding of these components on metal music. With an astounding ability to tell stories that, colored by these same folk arrangements on varying degrees, leads us all throughout a marvelous past of epic glory, where all of our virtues are deeply accurate and very intriguing scenarios of beautiful, yet ephemeral empires of dust and ash, standing with no dreams of their own, to finally prove or disbelieve that we become real retributions of an intricate, desperate and decadent reality.
With the Empires of Ash album cover having an amazing artwork by artist Jordan Grimmer, that captures perfectly the atmosphere the musicians themselves ably built in their sound, this album is an interesting work of art, from the great beginning until the very end. A curious release, it will certainly gain momentum among the more inspired legend shaped, technically and spiritually motivated and sound refined Black Metal community, with its surprisingly built harmonies, that seems dilapidated in the golden treasures of silver harps, carefully designed to sound as an opera of traditional glory, adapted to a very polished metal sound. Empires of Ash, Sojourner’s debut, is certainly one of the underground’s most recent glories, and you have to check it out for yourself, to believe. What these guys have done is certainly impressive, no doubt about that!