XeroPulse can pump out albums almost faster than I can recognize them. Normally that would send up red flags. Lots of albums in a short amount of times nine times out of ten means those albums are rushed piles of hot shit. XeroPulse is that tenth example that defies the rule. Beast of the Moor is a few months old now and it’s been fermenting on my review list and now it’s time to open the bottle and see how that fine Irish nastiness has aged. I loved it the first time around, the second time around, and the third. I listened to the album for a week straight, not listening to anything but Beast of the Moor whenever I had the chance to listen to anything.
I was first introduced to XeroPulse as a dark ambient project with a lot of promise, Beast of the Moor could have felt like something out of left field if I didn’t know the people involved in creating this masterpiece. Beast of the Moor is an ambient black metal album that both defies many of the stereotypes of the subgenre and embraces them. It’s harsh and cold, it’s atmospheric but raw and rough around the edges.
I like my ambient black metal to remind me of the early days of black metal but not to repeat them. That’s one of the reasons I love Horrenda (whose frontman appears on the album) and another reason I enjoy XeroPulse. There are plenty of callbacks and nods to the old styles without jumping headlong into a shitstorm of clichés. Beast of the Moor stands on the shoulders of the giants of the genre like Mayhem, Burzum, and Satyricon without actually relying on sounding like them to stand out. XeroPulse sounds like XeroPulse. That’s the best compliment I think I can give to this. Beast of the Moor separates XeroPulse from the bog of boring black metal (alliteration not intended) and elevates it to its own unique status.
What makes XeroPulse stand above the rest though? Has this one-man Irish project found the secret that everyone else seems to ignore? Well… probably. In the world of ambient black metal, there’s not a lot of room to expand your sound, so what do you do? If you’re XeroPulse and you want to make sure Beast of the Moor is a real standout release in a year that there has been a shit ton of ambient black metal releases you do what Irish people do best. Get angry. Get angry and meld the beauty of Irish folk music and sound with the ugly, misanthropic vibrations that are ambient black metal. It also helps that you bring in one of the best underground musicians in Dublin to help you out.
XeroPulse and Outis make a hell of a pair as they tear through the last two tracks on the album. They both know their folk music and they both know their metal, and best of all they know how to incorporate folkish melodies without making them sound poorly placed.
In today’s oversaturated black metal market filled with clones of Darkthrone, Burzum, and Shining, you need to find something that truly stands out and will stand the test of time. XeroPulse has already proven in the past that he can craft an excellent dark ambient tale, Beast of the Moor proves that he can do the same thing with ambient black metal. This is an album that will stand the test of time that so many nowadays will fail miserably at. Beast of the Moor is definitely a contender for black metal album of the year. I don’t say that lightly, and while still in May. Listen yourself you’ll understand what I mean.
Highlights: Beast of the Moor, Mossy Ruins
if you enjoyed this try: Horrenda, ColdWorld, Ninhursag
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