Can you imagine how many great records are sitting in the unknown, with only an intimate audience having discovered and absorbed it. There must be a ton of really strong bands and songs we’ll never hear simply because they don’t have the ability to spread their art to more people. Now and again, the pieces do find a light shine on them, showing the rest of the world they’ve been there all along waiting to be discovered.
Pacific Northwest-based one-man project With the End in Mind had their debut offering “Unraveling; Arising” out there for the past two years now, just waiting for people to stumble upon it. Luckily, the folks from Temple of Torturous found it, and they’re putting it out on double vinyl and digitally, which it absolutely deserves. It’s a fantastic five-track, 53-minute journey through all sorts of peaks and valleys. It’s atmospheric black metal at its heart, but there is so much more than that packed into these songs by sole creator Alex Freilich. The track brings emotional tidal waves, melodic devastation, and songs that rush in, grab you, and take you on a trip into the unknown with it. Musically, the Pacific Northwest influence is there, but it’s not oppressive at all. It’s a mere color stripe in a collection that flushes black metal with so many other hues and feelings.
“Sings the Sky,” running a healthy 14:53, opens the record with a long stretch of silence before the music quietly emerges, making it feel like it’s floating in the mid-morning sky. Freilich starts with cleaner calls, setting a foggy atmosphere, before the song bursts apart. Surging black metal joins pained growls, while the storm hangs overhead and unloads precipitation, as the drama gets into shoegazey space. The singing returns as the mood gets dimmer, and then a spacious deluge erupts, accompanied by wild cries, and a blast that slowly fades away. “Anguish Symmetry” is a 14:08 basher that unleashes crazed yells, blinding noise, and melodies that caterwaul dangerously. The blackness spills in rivers, cascading and threatening before rustic acoustics take over and bring calm. Keys join the mist, while the song lets sunbeams in to illuminate, and a dreamy texture coats everything. The track blasts open for one last gasp, as keys wash down, gazey playing spirals, and the wail of “Try to overcome!” pulls the curtains.
The title track is a quick instrumental piece that starts quietly and has noises floating into the atmosphere, as your head swims in the trance-inducing winds. “From the True Source” starts knee-deep in acoustics, taking on a Western feel as it lets powerful wails emerge, while the energy hits like a downpour. The guitars create fireworks that brighten the room, while it’s mind-numbing aura slowly bleeds away in the dark. Closer “Wheeling, Endlessly Wheeling” starts in an eerie place, as the track slowly unfurls, and a strange gust from the cosmos spreads psychedelic stardust. Guest singer Caitlin Fate lends her voice to the track, leading you into a numbing, hypnotic path. Keyboards emerge that push you into the chill of nighttime, as Freilich returns to singing before a final heavy rush. The melodies explode, anguished howls assault the evening air, and everything dissolves into a noise bath that simmers before fading away.
If you’re discovering With the End in Mind for the first time (admittedly, I am), you’ll find a lot to absorb with “Unraveling; Arising.” It’s homage to life puts the music in a different perspective than most black metal, which is refreshing, and the raw emotions flowing through the music are overwhelming in the best way. This is a powerful statement that stayed underground for too long and finally will get to unfurl itself in front of more people.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.wteim.net/
To buy the album, go here: http://templeoftorturous.com/shop/
For more on the label, go here: http://templeoftorturous.com/