Black metal force Aylwin put their hearts on line for nature on single-cut ‘The Arch Holder’

Black metal wasn’t necessarily created in order to give you something to listen to while you’re outside, but it sure as shit works well that way for the most part. As the genre has expanded its reaches, the amount of atmosphere and nature-worshipping elements has swelled, and luckily there are plenty of good bands from which to choose if that’s your thing.

One band that’s been following that path under many people’s radars is Aylwin, veterans of the sound for nearly a decade, though their California origins don’t really make them a part of the Pacific Northwest contingent who have spearheaded this movement. They have a number of smaller releases under their belt, but they’ve finally birthed their debut full-length offering “The Arch Holder,” a single-track, half-hour expression of sounds that bow at the altar of nature, a force humankind has done a hell of a job trying to burn to a crisp. But the majesty and reverence the band—vocalist Issaiah Vaca, guitarists Brian Hernandez and Daniel Salinas, bassist Brandon Hernandez, drummer Eddie Estrada—pays to their muse rumbles through your central nervous system and pays off an emotional high, bringing new elements to this style of black metal and making sure their prints are forever etched.

“The Arch Holder” is that 30:28-long single track, and it starts with waves crashing and guitars washing in before everything erupts, and the growls begin to wrench. The atmosphere spreads as melody rushes down, and the screams rush and blast into you as the heat and the pace begin to pick up. The playing continues to clobber until things turn serene for a spell as a moody haze floats overhead, with the song flowing a little slower but with no lack of passion. Whenever the thing turns back again, the emotions jar, the cries ring out, and the playing rumbles so hard it feels like it’s going to cave your chest. The shrieks jolt as the song runs into icy water, pushing through until the temperature rises again, and the final blast of power makes you shield your eyes. The playing then trickles cold, dissolves into waves, and the strangeness slowly melts.

Aylwin’s first full-length is one you have to take in one dose, as they don’t allow you to dip into tracks and select beginning and ending points. You’ll be better for it because “The Arch Holder” is a compelling, fascinating journey from front to back and that shows different angles of the band’s musical personalities. It’s a tremendous introduction into many of our lives, and their world-wrenching black metal can leave your body absolutely shaking.   

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