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Blyh – Awake to Emptiness Award winner

Awake to Emptiness
by James Brizuela at 05 June 2019, 7:43 AM

Hailing from the land of Germany, BLYH return with their second full-length album, “Awake to Emptiness”. Sitting at only 5 tracks but spanning a whopping 45 minutes of playtime, “Awake to Emptiness”, kept me completely enthralled the entire time. Spewing an absolutely raw and melodic black metal sound, BLYH took me on a mental journey I’ll not soon forget. There hasn’t been a black metal band that has impressed me so much this year, than BLYH. Their impeccable musicianship coupled with the angrier theme had me completely transfixed. The usual case for most black metal bands is to revolve around a deep sadness for the world around them, but I found this album to be on the more violent side of things. The vocals present a nastier element that pairs well with the incredible speed the music achieves at certain times. The opening track, “What a Man Can Bear”, is the perfect example of just that. Beginning with a quieter tone, almost completely atmospheric, the track immediately kicks into some beautiful musicianship before it completely changes pace into a brutally fast style. The drums pack an incredible punch, as do the completely whirlwind like guitar riffing. There is a lot of tempo changes that happen throughout but complement one another so well. The high-quality recording of this album pays dividends as you can hear every element so succinctly. From the monstrous drumming, to the insane riffs, and the chanting backing vocals, every element blends so well.

Beginning with another creepy atmospheric sound, the second track “Don’t Mistake Me for a Friend”, follows the same pattern as the opening track. Brutal drums and fast guitar riffs kick in, while the harrowing vocals are layered on top giving it that “ice in the veins” type of feel. My favorite thing about this album is the simplicity in the lyrics. There aren’t vocals throughout most of every track but the lyrical content cuts like a knife, as the high-pitch vocals tear away at the flesh. When there is breaks in the lyrics, you can soak in all the incredible musicianship that went into this album. It’s a beautiful dichotomy of brutality and elegance. “Utica Crib”, presents the most prototypical black metal sound of the album, but still holds a fierceness with it. Some beautiful piano work is paired with a guitar solo that leads back into the blistering speed that is present in the entirety of the album. The tempo changes that exist just keep adding more and more layers to every lengthy track. Right when you think you’re going to get a much slower and doom-like sound, you get the speed cranked back up to throw you back into the violent theme of the album. The slower side of the album is taken with the second to last track of the album, “Voracious Null”. But with the slowing of the tempo there are more surprises that come along. There are some brutal death-like growls present, and some hauntingly beautiful angelic-like backing vocals.

The final track, “…and Die Not” ends the album on a captivating note. Taking time to slow things down to just some simple guitar riffs and tom drum playing, the brutality is sprinkled throughout.  Blending more of the brutal death-like vocals, and showcasing some beautiful guitar work, the track takes you on one last atmospheric journey.  From start to finish, “Awake to Emptiness” surprised me with its constant tempo changes and beautiful brutality. If you love raw black metal, this album is sure to impress you. Being one of the crown jewels in the German black metal scene, BLYH is sure to greatly broaden their fan base with this new album. It is a home run.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. What a Man Can Bear
2. Don’t Mistake Me for a Friend
3. Utica Crib
4. Voracious Null
5. …and Die Not
Murul – All instruments, Vocals
Absorber – Guitars
Record Label: The Crawling Chaos Records


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