The Rickety Old Shack

Arête — Arête EP

album cover

Formed by members of atmospheric black metal projects Evergreen Refuge, Deafest and Twilight Fauna, Arête offers up a two-track, self-titled EP of their own material. It's hard to call Arête a "super group" since every one of its members is from an ultra-obscure band, but this is still a project with a lot of bonafides in the atmospheric black metal world. Rooted in the same genre as their primary projects, Arête manages to both evoke its members previous work and yet still produce a distinct set of material which stands on its own.

The biggest give-aways are the guitar and drum tones, as they sounds like they could be from any one of Deafest's numerous EPs. It's mainly on the first track, "Sojourn," that this is true. The second track features a lot of acoustic guitar and ambient breaks — more in line with Evergreen Refuge — which then eventually build to energetic electric guitar runs over minimalistic blast beats. "Unquiet Passing" is a lot more varied than the opener, and showcases that Arête could be its own distinct beast should the group reconvene in the future. The vocals on both tracks sound like a demon exhaling intermittently moreso than traditional singing, lending additional mood and atmosphere as opposed to a formal vocal presence.

All told, Arête put together a decent EP of material. There is nothing mind-blowing here, but for the 18 minutes the EP spans, the material is solid, highly listenable, and indicative of potentially good things to come. For those unfamiliar with what constitutes a lot of the atmospheric black metal scene, the Arête EP is a good primer. The production is good — not great, however — and you'll be exposed to a lot of the staple progressions and sonic palettes the genre utilises. If a project isn't going to be ground-breaking then it at least needs to be competent, and Arête easily accomplish this.

For a quick dose of the new wave of atmospheric black metal, Arête have just what you need. If you're searching for blistering, raw black metal in the style of olde then just go ahead and skip this one entitely. If you like what what you hear on this EP, then I strongly recommend looking into the members' various other projects.

Summary

A short taste of the atmospheric black metal scene. Arête aren't breaking any new ground on this self-titled EP, but did put together 2 long, sprawling tracks that stand on their own merits. There is a lot of overlap with one of the members' other projecrs, Deafest but this EP has its own unique qualities to it. The second track — both of which run in the 9 minute range — introduces folk elements and really fleshes out the band's sound. A strong debut from an intriguing projects which I look forward to hearing more from.

Album Information

Release date: July 12th, 2016
Record label: Independent

Dylan — guitars, drums
Chase — guitars
Paul — vocals, folk instruments

Track Listing

  1. Sojourn
  2. Unquiet Passing

Link: aretebm.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: September 1st, 2018.