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From the Bogs of Aughiska - Mineral Bearing Veins

From the Bogs of Aughiska
Mineral Bearing Veins
by Chris Hawkins at 20 May 2019, 7:18 PM

As the clouds roll overhead with the endurance of a freight train, the brief hint of sunshine that peaked through in the distance is now dissolved with the foreboding, oncoming storm.  Waves crash relentlessly attacking the coast line like lines of endless Spartan warriors formed up in phalanx rows.  Rain is shot down from the sky in myriad directions pelting the skin with multiple miniature bee stings.  As the wind howls, one can hear the song of ageless banshees perpetually dwelling along this foreboding coast, weaving their spell for those who will listen.

Such a scene describes the homeland of FROM THE BOGS OF AUGHISKA (FTBOA), the western coast of Ireland also the acting muse of the band.  Those with an open mind will appreciate the carefully created soundscapes they have assembled, each ever more refined since the release of their self-titled debut in 2010.  Their penchant for creating highly absorbing music with soundtrack qualities along with elements of Black Metal earned them spots on shows with ULVER, ARCTURUS, DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT, and many more.

While the band is described as Dark Ambient Black Metal, the overall sound certainly eclipses such a surmisal.  Listening to “Mineral Bearing Veins” is a multi-sensory effecting experience, a unique, captivatingly moving work of art.  Beginning with a lush acoustic piece titled “Scuabtuinne,” the album proceeds to lead the listener on the most cerebral of journeys.  One immediately can grasp the Celtic touch in the songwriting.

It is with the following track, “Poll An Eidheain,” that the album fully commences.  The sound of solemn rain falling mixed with guitar soaked with feedback and wah sets the stage.  Soon, one is greeted with a bleak, minor-key passage reminiscent of BURZUM’s “Dunkelheit” that then morphs into proper tremolo picking and blasting.  Lo-fi is the most proper description for the overall sound.  In fact, it is musically daring through the productions sounding like what one would hear seated next to someone on the bus blasting the album through their headphones.  Falling rain, lonely and weeping, closes the song as it initially opened.

Along the way, the road takes many twists and turns.  What is most intriguing is the concept of conjuring a personalized plot while listening to the mesmerizingly haunting soundscapes.  “Crataegus,” the fourth track, is another of note.  It contains a dark melody that is both infectious and intoxicating, adding to what is solidifying itself as truly memorable.  The mixture of delicately played chords on acoustic with electric guitar drenched in feedback in the vein of EYEHATEGOD is the foundation of the sixth track, “The Devil is an Irish Man”.  Magic happens at the 1:53 mark where a massively distorted bass roars into the mix evoking the low-end fury of the late Peter Steele.  It is the bass that becomes the master of ceremonies effectively holding everything together even into the arrival of anarchic blasting.  The key to the track’s success is its use of layering and feedback.  While the main chord progressions are performed, different strains of feedback add a variety of colors to the music.

Forward-thinking fans of Extreme Metal will naturally gravitate toward this release.  Anyone with a passing interest in the varied discography of ULVER will be drawn to FTBOA.  While other seem to remain blissfully stagnant in rehashing the glory of the past, FTBOA are staring the future in the face, challenging it in every way, and producing some incredibly absorbing, impactful music of the highest quality.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Scuabtuinne
2. Poll An Eidheain
3. Wake of Buzzards
4. Crataegus
5. The One Whitethorn Bush
6. The Devil is an Irish Man
7. An Spealadoir
8. Lios Duin Bhearna
Conchúir O' Drona
Bryan O' Sullivan
Ronan Hayes
Padraic Farrelly

Record Label: Apocalyptic Witchcraft


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