1476 - In Exile review
|Release date:||July 2023|
01. Lost In Exile
02. Lapis Fire: Through The Mist
03. Tristesse In Exile
04. Jade Fire: A Paragon
05. When Comes The Dawn?
06. May Mountains Never Fall
07. Where Kings Fall
08. A Queen In Exile
09. Beyond The Meadows, Beyond The Moors
10. Carnelian Fire: The Gallows
11. Where Are You?
The cover art and the "neofolk" tag we have for In Exile here screams of some Death In June-ish neofolk. Even on sites like Rate Your Music, you won't find actual metal tags for 1476's music. And yet, they're on a metal website. What gives?
I didn't listen to this album upon release, nor did I check any of 1476 at first. But I knew I saw a neofolk album on the "New Releases" tab and sometime when compiling albums to cover for the non-metal feature we do monthly, I tried to remember if there were any non-metal albums that were still featured on the website, so my mind instantly raced towards this album. But you might notice that In Exile isn't featured in the latest edition, and that's because listening to the opening track I couldn't, in good conscious, call it a non-metal album even if the vast majority of the album is non-metal. What do I mean by that? Well, it's time to namedrop a bunch of genres, my favorite activity.
It's true that this is a neofolk album, even if I might not call it primarily one, it's just that the aesthetic screams it, and the fact that this is the prevalent sound in some of the songs. Ballad-like folk vocals that do sound a lot like what you'd expect from the genre on vaguely post-industrial tinged acoustic folk. But then there's also a lot of punk in it, and that's pretty noticeable in the passionate folk punk infused vocals, something that is present even in the moments that aren't necessarily folky themselves. It is the vocals that I've seen mentioned most as a point of contention, and it's true that they're the most noticeable culprit of the genre mix at play here, with the variety they present not always being the most technically good nor one to avoid making the genre mix grating, but I don't find that they drag the album down as much as they make it more interesting. The punk aspect goes beyond just the folk punk vocals, into territories that aren't necessarily punk themselves, but more akin to post-punk / goth rock/ deathrock, alternating the belting folk moments with some synth heavy gothic melancholia, even if there are moments where the punk aspect leads to a lot of heaviness. Some of the guitar solos are blues inspired. Some of the song progressions are post-rock inspired.
And you might notice that so far I haven't even mentioned "metal" at all, and yet there is a lot of heaviness in the album that is very reminiscent of a metal album. The heaviness of the punk, the folk nuances, and the post-rock progressions all create something that is at times very akin to a post-black album, fusing together all the non-metal elements that do appear naturally in a post-black metal song but leaving the heaviness itself to be a bit more ambiguous genre-wise. Without scientific tools, it's quite hard to determine whether there are actual post-black metal influences in In Exile or they take from the same pool of sounds. And it probably doesn't matter. If it sounds like a post-black metal song, lack of actual black metal be damned, it might as well be a post-black metal song. The riffing itself in some songs is probably the most straight-forward metal part of it, sometimes more like the aforementioned post-black metal but also with a lot of a punchy heavy metal for good measure.
And that's only touching on the genre variety at play here, this being one of the unique kind of albums where you can name Agalloch, Dropkick Murphys, Sol Invictus, The Cure, Primordial, and Amebix as bands whose fans this would appeal to. The sound itself it pretty ambitious, sometimes biting more than it can chew, not only vocal wise. The acoustic folk strings, the gothy synths, the metal riffing, all of it isn't held together very strongly and part of the album's charm comes from how it's just the right amount of provocation in the way everything comes together.
||Written on 23.09.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.|
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