PATHS - Beauty and Nihility (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2015)
Paths are Canadian project led by Michael Taylor, who in very short time of two years released four demos and two full length albums! Damn, that’s a lot of music. But I don’t know if this creativity comes along with the quality; usually it is a problem… but who cares. Here I have his recent release, which is a second album titled “Beauty and Nihility” and it’s a fine, solid stuff. Maybe not something what would impress me like crazy, but just a decent and listenable album, which brings no shame to its creator.
There’s one main problem I have with “Beauty and Nihility” and it’s the fact that as a whole, this album bores me a little. I am usually not a greatest fan of that depressive, melancholic black metal, majority of that kind of music is just a garbage, played by a desperate, miserable kids, so I rather avoid it. In case of Paths I can say that it’s not bad at all, but after couple of hours spent with it I just felt tired and bored with this music. Taylor tries to diverse his music, incorporating some melodic bits, some keyboards, some faster parts also, so it’s not just doomy and totally sorrowful through the whole 50 minutes, but it’s just a bit too much music for me to stand. And I was playing this album several times to give it a justice and get to know its contents… and well, yes, this is not bad, Paths came up with an album, which surely fans of bands like Xasthur, Krohm or Forgotten Tomb will like a lot, I think. And of course Burzum, even if it’s not even close to the brilliance of such “Filosofem”. But I think that Paths is better than such Xasthur, who are deadly fuckin boring and talentless, in my opinion. Anyway, I like how Paths are creating this sorrowful, melancholic atmosphere and the music is just cold, dark, but do not avoid melody. On one hand songs like “Beauty” can create also sort of hypnotizing feeling, but at the same time it gets very one dimensional and monotonous – sort of sin of many depressive black metal bands. Paths is also suffering for that and it’s also maybe why I feel bored after a while with this music, since almost every song here uses similar tempos, way of playing slow, sorrowful riffs with the simple, sparse drumming (which is very low in the mix, by the way) and harsh vocals. This is maybe why it sounds so great when Paths make any changes, by either using some acoustic guitars, keyboards or simply change the pace. This is also why I welcome songs like “Cloudless Whispers” and “Wake the Dawn“ with open arms, as they have some faster, more aggressive fragments, in the first of these songs the opening theme reminds me such Kampfar for example.
I guess that I would need to repeat what I wrote when reviewing Dun’s “Nature Morte” here. I would enjoy “Beauty and Nihility” more if the album was shorter, up to 35 minutes maybe? Towards the end I start to loose it, everything gets monotonous, although I need to say that I like Paths’ music much more than Dun’s. And one thing is certain – due to the atmosphere and that hypnotizing feeling of the music, it is necessary to listen to albums like “Beauty and Nihility” in proper condition. It is not an album to be played when you clean your room or want to listen to something aggressive. It isn’t an entertaining, if I can say so…
Standout tracks: “Beauty”, “Cloudles Whispers”, “Eyes Behind the Light”
Final rate: 65/100