I’ve heard of atmospheric black metal, of course, and have obviously heard Chinese or at least Chinese-themed music before in my life, but never have I thought what it would sound like if the two were mixed. Death metal and Japanese themed music have been mixed together with Whispered, but Zuriaake is the first band I”ve heard that combined atmospheric black metal and Chinese themed music into one album, and I feel like Zuriaake was the right band for this as they’re from China itself so if anyone has any chance at nailing a good Chinese theme it would be these two gentlemen. “孤雁 Gu Yan” is just over an hour long and even though it is a little bit slow in parts it is a beautifully cinematic album that really sounds like it came straight out of China and then meets up with Finland as the black metal is done magnificently well. If you were to close your eyes when you’re really listening to “孤雁 Gu Yan” then I swear to you that it would sound like you are sitting in the mist filled mountains somewhere in China where everything is peaceful and tranquil, but yet subtlety ominous and unnerving, until full on violence spreads everywhere as the black metal blasts in and just creates such a harsh contrast to what you were previously listening to that your brain has to take a second or two to really process what the fuck just happened. It’s that contrast between styles that really helps make “孤雁 Gu Yan” as great as it is because it gives you the same feeling as you get when you see a massive lightning storm coming across a pale blue sky: bewilderment along with a small dosage of dread for the coming storm. That is exactly the kind of atmosphere that Zuriaake has created here. Each track starts off wonderfully beautiful and tranquil only to slowly creep to a full onslaught of destruction that you cannot predict until the last moment. And if you think the vocals would be lackluster because of Zuriaake trying to be all unique and shit then you needn’t worry because the vocals of this record are as black metal as you can get. They are beyond harsh, you can’t understand a word, and you know that the lyrics are filled with sheer power and raw emotion. “孤雁 Gu Yan” truly show that Zuriaake are the Chinese masters of black metal, and this album is by far their crowning achievement without a doubt. I expect great things from these guys as should you. They have got absolute talent that is undeniable, and I don’t care how long it takes them to make an album I can almost guarantee you that whenever it were to release that it would be on the same level, if not higher, as “孤雁 Gu Yan” impossible as that may sound.
LISTEN to “孤雁 Gu Yan” on Bandcamp here or via YouTube below.
LIKE Zuriaake on Facebook here.