I Am the Night may be a brand new entity but their music is conjured into being by four long time Finnish metal legends, featuring luminaries of Omnium Gatherum, Insomnium, and Bodom After Midnight. You could probably expect some serious melody put into While the Gods Are Sleeping, given this pedigree, but it draws very deep from the well of classic Emperor, Mayhem, and Dissection, and it’s out now through Svart Records.
If you had to guess what the intro title track to a black metal album would sound like, While the Gods Are Sleeping will not fail to disappoint you, as buzzing riffs begin to build anticipation for what will hopefully be a detonation of black metal. There are vocals here too, but it still feels like it is here to set a scene, not play a role. But as Hear Me O’Unmaker swells from the speakers, it is clear that I Am the Night aren’t just here to hit the cliché klaxon super hard.
Sure, the riffing is fiery and intense, the vocals sharp and harsh and the atmosphere colder than the proverbial witch, but what there is in spades is a real sense of grandeur. You’ve got this grandiose sweep of background synth, bringing out some serious In the Nightside Eclipse vibes, while the rich, icy gallop of Dawnbearer feels torn from Dissection’s frosty grasp. The authentic second wave worship is almost too much in places, with Ode To The Nightsky feeling very much like a genre throwback classic with sweeping leads and soaring synth.
I Am The Night have created some of the year’s most captivating and majestic black metal…
It isn’t hard to play second wave black metal, but it is really hard to do it well. I Am the Night‘s obvious reverence for the style is commendable, however, as their work touches upon many facets of it, they feel more part of that original scene rather than a derivative of it. I think it is that cosmic synth backdrop that shrouds each song, that is the thing that really adds to the feel. The Owl is a vast soundscape of 90s black metal beauty, while the ferocious yet melancholic Among The Unseen Ones is a triumph of old fashioned wizardry. When the glacial nightmare of Holocaust Of The Angels comes to its final closing notes, you will have experienced a true, (sorry, TRVE) rejuvenation of a genre.
It is hard to really do While The Gods Are Sleeping justice for their capturing of lightning in a bottle, but if you like In The Nightside Eclipse-era Emperor (my favourite), you will very much dig this record. A grand balancing act of bleak, frozen riffage, swathes of atmosphere, and vast synth backdrops, I Am The Night have created some of the year’s most captivating and majestic black metal, and it will be very hard to top. Hail to the glorious northern night!
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson