New England, at least for those who are biased towards the darker side of things, is synonymous with the Salem witch trials, Stephen King, Lovecraft, and numerous eerie and morbid legends told and retold again as part of U.S. and even native-American folklore. And now, we have something else to add to the ancient tome of New England – a duo of cryptic musicians who go by the names Heathen and Gemini have spawned from the cold New Hampshire landscape a vile entity known as Cold Northern Vengeance.
What we have with CNV’s first full length, “Domination and Servitude”, is a mixture of black metal, death metal, industrial, neo-folk and even some punk thrown in there for good measure. This would be a recipe for disaster for most bands, but CNV is somehow able to conjure a slithering masterpiece that combines various elements into a very organic and captivating whole. When listening to this album, I also sensed something behind the music, a silence of some sort, that I could not quite put my finger on. This might have been the result of the studio atmosphere or the way in which the album was mixed. Or perhaps, as I like to think, the musicians were able to somehow shine their occult influences through the music.
A highlight for me was “The Shores of New England”, a purely acoustic number that provides a haunting and introspective refrain amongst the chaos. Other songs, such as “The By-Paths to Chaos” and “A Past Forgotten”, are epic in proportion, combining Norwegian black metal (e.g., old Enslaved) with clean vocal chants and haunting voiceovers. The album is best enjoyed as a whole by letting the schizophrenic song structures wash over you, leading you on a dark and sinister journey you won’t soon forget.
The more well known U.S. black metal bands are primarily manned by nature worshipping eco-warriors, who mix in equal amounts of shoegaze into their soundscapes. Although I admire some of the bands that fall into this category, CNV brings something entirely different to the table. There is strength of purpose and authenticity to their music that is reflected in their blatant disregard for the rules and limitations of genre specificity. CNV offers a refreshing and, dare I say, quite avant-garde artistic statement, and I for one am looking forward to future releases from these guys.
01 – Gnosis