Sometimes you put in a press play on an album and you know exactly what you are going to get. You know that when you play an Akercocke album you’re going to get a wide variety of dark ambient interludes, clean and raspy vocals mixed with progressive guitar riffs. Other times you have no idea what you’re going to get. Deep Mountains latest opus, Enchanted by the Blooming Echo, is an acoustic album from a predominately black metal band. What does that mean exactly? Well I’m not one hundred percent sure what it means. But I can say this, a band willing to experiment and try something out of the box is a band worth listening to. In their previous albums, Deep Mountains have established their haunting, atmospheric black metal roots and now with Enchanted by the Blooming Echo, they explore more of their past and their roots.
The first song on the album, admittedly, had me worried that it was going to be what we know black metal is without distortion: the dreaded surf rock! But lo! It was not to be, and thank the gods for that. Rather than continue calling this an acoustic album, I’ll start calling it what I really think it is: a neofolk album. If you know me, you know I really like neofolk because it’s a look back at where we came from and honoring that with the musical prowess we have today. Chinese folk music, though, has been a mystery to me. Sure I’ve listened to some soundtracks of movies like Hero, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and others but how exactly does that relate to what Chinese music sounds like? I mean really sounds like. For a long time, I never really had the answer, though that was really due to lack of searching after a while. But now, in my haphazard way of finding new music, I think I’ve found at least a piece of the puzzle.
Enchanted by the Blooming Echo has a poetic ring to the name and the poetic nature follows it through the music itself. It’s lyrical and soft, yet not timid and demur. Deep Mountains utilize instruments on this album that they normally don’t, allowing the sound to blossom from traditional instruments rather than the simple guitar, drums, bass trio. The sound is deep and satisfying, even to someone like me who isn’t fully aware of Chinese culture. The vocals, there are some vocals here, are very traditional and flow like the music, like water in a river. The sound doesn’t really stay with you because there’s a rush of sound flowing past you. It’s never the same music but it all feels familiar. The production quality on this album is top notch, especially considering that the band itself is a black metal band and that alone means production is vastly different. The sounds are soft yet they resonate and reverberate. The sound is poetic, as I said earlier. It feels like a lot of Chinese artwork, very flowery yet sinewy, exotic yet somehow familiar.
This was a brave experiment for the band and I, for one, believe that paid off. With an album like this the band allows the listener to really appreciate the talent that they have as musicians and song writers. I look forward to more albums have this sort of dark folk like quality to them, now that I know the band is capable. This album is a great notch in their belt and moving forward I think this album has opened many possibilities.
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Enchanted by the Blossoming Echo Video