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And Now the Owls are Smiling - Dirges

And Now the Owls are Smiling
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 11 February 2021, 9:00 AM

Depressive/Ambient Black Metal can be said as an evolution of what BURZUM did during “Det Som Engang Var” (1993) and “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss” (1994) ages, and many influences from French LLN bands as well. Obviously, things evolved a lot from those days on, and many bands that are coming now takes such influences and do something different (or not, due the copycats that exist). And in the hands of the UK based one-man band AND NOW THE OWLS ARE SMILING things become interesting, as can be heard on “Dirges”.

The musical ideas are expressed in a form of harsh and crude Black Metal that is tempered with introspective and melancholic ambiences created by the keyboards’ parts. But the personal approach of the band is very good, filling the songs with a particular energy and way of making music. The production tried to create a sonority that could bear the crudeness as the Old School Black Metal bands from the early releases of the 90’s, but in a way that the listeners can understand what is being expressed on the songs. And although some adjustments can be done in a future release, for now it’s good, indeed.

Nre (the man behind the band) uses long time spams to present his musical ideas, but something shorter once in a while could create a set of contrasts, and it’s an idea. For now, the fans of such bitter Metal genre will love “Dirge II: Rejection” (fine oppressive ambiences, with good contrasts on vocals), the oppressive Old School Black metal outfit of “Dirge III: Darkness” (very good work on the guitars), the deeper and melancholic set of melodies of “Dirge VI: Pointlessness” and “Dirge VII: Acceptance” can satisfy the most exigent fan of the genre.

Although “Dirges” can’t be mentioned as the eighth wonder of the world, it shows that AND NOW THE OWLS ARE SMILING is an honest band that deserves praise.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Dirge I: Grief
2. Dirge II: Rejection
3. Dirge III: Darkness
4. Dirge IV: Solitude
5. Dirge V: Lucidity
6. Dirge VI: Pointlessness
7. Dirge VII: Acceptance
8. Dirge VIII: Ascension
Nre - All Instruments, Vocals
Record Label: Clobber Records


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Edited 04 October 2022

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