Auriferous Flame allows Ayloss to explore black metal’s frosty origins on ‘The Great Mist Within’

There is plenty that can be said about the origins of the black metal that we know of today, and not all of it is great. A lot of the people responsible for the second wave were morons who did dumb shit and had horrible beliefs, some that led to actual deaths. But that sound is something that lives on its own and can be embraced for the spirit that keeps giving and fueling this music. We can celebrate that at least.

Ayloss, who brought you great black metal with projects including Spectral Lore and Mystras, also embraces that icy sound that birthed a million bands, and with his new project Auriferous Flame, he pays homage to a movement, just without the shitty viewpoints and regressive politics. On “The Great Mist Within,” he spreads his black metal wings and drizzles proper amounts of melody and elegance to these tracks that turn your ribcage to dust. It’s also an instant joy, as the first time I heard the record, it knocked me on my ass, and each subsequent visit has been just as brutal and engaging.

“Voice of the Gleaming Edge” ruptures right away with the playing storming and Ayloss’ vocals scraping fresh wounds amid a melodic surge. Thunderous power and hefty riffs team up and double down on the power as atmospheric pressure builds and blends into calming synth. The pace continues to envelope, the playing shimmers, and everything dissolves into sunset. “Molten Gold” runs 10:39 and opens in lathering guitars and a drubbing that stings the senses. The guitars heat up and spiral into numbing hypnosis, the growls tidal wave, and heat gathers as the drumming unloads. Beastly howls settle heavily into a pocket and fiery melody, the cracks in the foundation tear open and fill with lava, and the heat index gets so intense, it becomes nearly inhabitable.

The title track explodes with power and energy, pummeling as the vocals hammer away, and the drums righteously destroy. The blinding pace gets more raucous as the storming increases dangerously, the vitality multiplies by the thousands, and the final moments are absorbed by a sound cave. “Ancient Corridors” is the longest track, clocking in at 10:45, and it teases in a haze as it dawns, letting your mind wander on an adventure. Clean guitars trickle as the playing grows more haunted, an eruption sends rock flying, and the guitars absolutely blaze as the drums come apart. The jackhammering continues amid anguished wails, the tenson bleeding, and everything flowing into instrumental closer “Mass of Ice” that chimes with guitars and a chilling glaze, ending in a bed of frost.

Ayloss truly creates a new sonic world apart from his great other projects on “The Great Mist Within,” a true callback to black metal’s early glory days at least from a sound standpoint. Auriferous Flame carries that banner proudly but with a more informed viewpoint and path toward personal power you can harness within. This record sounds amazing, it blazes with glory, and even at its most vicious, it never fails to ice you over with pulverizing, wintry madness.

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