Review/Zuriaake/Gu Yan

There’s a first time for everything, and when it comes to writing a review of an album – this is my debut..

Artist: Zuriaake (China)
Title: Gu Yan

Despite being formed all the way back in 1998, and already having released a couple of EP’s and another full-length album, “Afterimage of autumn,” this is the the first time I have heard about this band.

I was goofing around Bandcamp one day when these guys caught my attention, and due to the fact that “Gu Yan” has been the soundtrack to my life, for the last month, I guess it’s about time to write a proper review.

So, what does it sound like? Zuriaake should probably be described as “Atmospheric blackmetal” – but it’s a lot more that that; they mix the use of disorted harmonics, keyboards and blastbeats with traditional chinese instruments like strings, flutes, chimes and percussion.

The album starts of with a long intro, that sends my mind on a trip to a world of horseback riding chinese warriors and big battles in ancient China. Track two gives a hint of what to come as it drags along in a almost doom-like tempo; still no trace of blastbeats and true blackened metal. The third track (celestial/heaven) begins the soothing sound of waves hitting the shore – only to have turned itself into utter angst-ridden chaos a couple of minutes later. Put all doubt aside, this track justifies the “blackmetal” label.

The fourth track, the twentyfive minute long “Sleepwalking,” sums up all of the above elements and it all comes together, as one of the most epic songs I’ve ever heard; the everflowing guitar harmonies, Behemoth-like horns, strings, screams, the constant change in pace, and the fact that it’s almost hypnotic in all it’s monotonous beauty. I love this song, and should you choose to listen to only one song of this album – this should be it.

I’ve chosen not to write about the final three tracks – the ones above, pretty much tells the whole story about what to expect from this album.

Zuriaake-fanboy..? Indeed – and I’ll be in the front row wearing a conical hat when they, hopefully, hit a stage in Denmark someday. Until then, I’ll make sure to promote them in every possible way. Zuriaake – because you are worth it…

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