Album: A Shadow of What Once Was
Label: Clobber Records
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: February 26, 2021
For Fans Of: Wolves in the Throne Room, Panopticon, Drudkh
A Shadow of What Once Was, is the new EP from British Atmospheric Black Metallers Wolvencrown and while I don’t usually like to give my opinion on an album right up top but I have to say that I have not been this frustrated with anything that I have heard in a long time. This is a strong statement, especially since this is a three song EP that is less than 20 minutes long, but my frustration comes from the formatting of the album and how it is amazing through the first two songs and mind-numbingly boring on the last song. Since this album is basically told in two parts, I am going to have to discuss it in two parts, namely the “Good Half” and the “Boring Half”.
I’ll start with the “good half”. A Shadow of What Once Was, opens with the epic titular song, played out over the first two tracks, which includes some of the best forest worshiping black metal that I have heard since the last Panopticon album. It is beautiful yet haunting. Atmospheric yet engaging. All in all these first two tracks really create an amazing piece that really blew past any expectations that I had for this EP. I love this kind of music when it’s done right and this is absolutely done right. This is great music if you want to pay close attention or just have it on in the background. This is a hard line to walk, leading to a lot of bad music in the hands of lesser bands, but Wolvencrown prove to be masters of this arena and seemed ready to put the metal world on alert.
After the opening epic, I was ready to shout the praises of A Shadow of What Once Was, citing it as among the greatest Black Metal EPs of the past few years but as I got into the last track my little bubble of excitement popped and thus we have reached “The Boring Half”. Coming to an End is the last song on the album and it opens with a simple yet gorgeous synth/string passage laid over a three beat drum pattern that felt like it was going to be an incredible intro to yet another epic track that was on par with the opener. The problem is that this “intro” went on…and on…and on…and on, for seven fucking minutes, then it ended. It didn’t change, or build, or go anywhere, it just seemed to repeat. Like fucking Groundhog’s Day. Look, I know that it changed a bit and the string sounds took more of a forefront etc., but it felt like being trapped in purgatory to me. I thought that on subsequent listens this track would grow on me since I knew it was coming, but it never happened. It just became more and more evident that this song was boring and a terrible way to close out something that had the potential to be great.
This is tough because I don’t know what to think of this as a complete piece. I don’t really know how to rate it and it’s frustrating. It’s just so uneven. I don’t think that I have ever loved one half of an album so much, while hating the other half to this degree. My recommendation is to put A Shadow of What Once Was Pt. 1 and 2 on a playlist and delete Coming to End from your computer or Spotify account forever.
Rating: 5.5 / 10 (9 / 10 for the first two tracks and 2 / 10 for the last one)
- A Shadow of What Was pt. 1
- A Shadow of What Was pt. 2
- Coming to an End
Total Running Time: 18:10