The more we attempt to run from the void, the more we run headlong towards it. The more we fear the darkness around us, the more we succumb to it. As I was listening to Lingering Voidwards, the prima opus of Coldborn, an atmospheric black metal band out of Belgium, these thoughts were what filled my head. It’s a great philosophical question to ask. Are we running from the void only to be push towards it all the more? Are we desperately seeking a way to avoid it while unknowingly rushing off the cliff? Metaphysical questions and observations abounded within the space of this forty-five-minute album. What exactly is this void that we are running from? What does it signify? What is so terrifying about the presence of emptiness? What is l’appel du vide and why does chaos seem so attractive to us? All of these questions I was able to mull over as I listened to this album, a request from the band itself.
Since starting Resounding Footsteps I’ve had more than a few requests from bands and artists to take a look at their music. Sadly, a good portion of that music has been downright cringe worthy and completely unappealing. It’s a roll of the dice every time I take on an album. Is it going to be decent, or is it going to be a shit parade disguised as music? Rarely, I get requests that I end up loving. Such was the case with Coldborn. On the surface, the band doesn’t look all that impressive. It’s not a weak sounding name or bad art, it’s just middle of the pack. However, once you press play everything changes. TO give you a sense of what Coldborn is capable of, think of Agalloch, Panopticon, and Gorgoroth all blended together and poured over ice. That’s how you get Coldborn. Lingering Voidwards is the ultimate ode to l’appel du vide, the call of the void. It’s a melody devoted to death the way black metal ought to be. Coldborn utilizes guitars, drums, bass, horns, piano, and vocals to create something that is a frill-less, gimmick-less work of gloomy art.
If Coldborn ever does a show with Wolves in the Throne Room, it might be hard to figure out which band is which. There are a lot of similarities between them. Coldborn recognized a formula that works and built upon it. They may have a few similarities to WiTTR but don’t think for a second that they are a copycat band. Coldborn is no clone, my friends. There is bona fide talent here. Where WiTTR is dedicated to nature and natural folklore, Coldborn is dedicated, fanatically so, to one thing: Death.
Lingering Voidwards opens with a dungeon crawl of synth, guitar drone and military grade horns that immediately set the mood then blaze into the darkness with virulent strength and fury. This is no mere raw black metal outfit. This is a full-fledged atmospheric band that plans to cut a wide swath of life and spread destruction through doomy, blackened riffage and piano laden melodies. Everything they try to accomplish on this album they achieve. They don’t take huge risks but they stick to what sounds good and, like a strong rauchbier, it works to bitter perfection. All the instruments, the duel set of vocals (both performed by the same man but in differing styles) paint a wonderful picture of what we are lingering towards. Hail the void! L’appel du vide is strong here indeed!
Coldborn and Lingering Voidwards are going to be in my library for a long time and I’m thankful that they brought themselves to my attention. I believe that I have been musically enriched having listened to their debut album. It’s beautiful, dark, atmospheric goodness. If the album is not already on your playlist you need to put it there. You will not regret such a decision. I promise you!
Listen and support the music!