Album Review: The Constellatory Practice- Urfaust

Fourth of May was the day I was looking forward to, because the new Thy Catafalque album was about to come out. Now I’m not a staunch follower of the band, but I did enjoy their Previous output Meta and the singles from the new one seemed compelling. Tamàs Kàtai is a very talented man who isn’t afraid to experiment but Geometria failed to strike a chord with me and left me feeling bittersweet.

But that isn’t the reason behind this blog’s existence. On that same day, Urfaust announced the release of their new album, which honestly came out of thin air. I wasn’t aware of them working on new material so that announcement took me by surprise. Urfaust had always been a band that didn’t disappoint, whatever they would put out was nothing short of outerworldly bliss, made me feel emotions no other band could seldom come close to. I wasted no time and headed straight over to Bandcamp in order to experience their latest offering.

Urfaust are a Dutch Ambient/Atmospheric black metal duo and The Constellatory Practice is their fifth full length masterpiece. Now what separates Urfaust from the Summoning worshippers and other generic bands that plague this subgenre is their signature dark ambient inspired sound that is similar to acts like Shibalba and Vishuda Kali. Another factor that sets them apart is their almost divine ability to inculcate precise emotions through their sounds, only a handful of bands manage to accomplish this such as Drudkh and Vargnatt to name a few. The Constellatory Practice consists of five tracks and spanning a total of fifty six minutes in length.

The Constellatory Practice follows the same production quality as the previous album and is as heavy as Der freiwillinge Bettler at moments. A lot of doom metal influences can be heard here. Urfaust are masters at coming up with hypnotizing riffs, riffs that transcend the fabric of space and time, creating soundscapes unlike anything you have heard before. Unlike traditional black metal, the drums aren’t a monotonous wall of blast beats but rather sparingly used set of notes that vary in intensity depending upon the atmosphere created by the riffs. The opening riffs on the second track ‘Behind the Veil of the Trance Sleep’ bears a striking resemblance to my favorite Urfaust record Einsiedler [EP] Even though it’s just two tracks, it puts a lot of full lengths to shame just by the sheer amount of creativity it has.

Einsiedler relied heavy upon ambient fuzzy texture but here Urfaust managed to pull off a completely different mood by using almost similar riffs with clean production. That just proves how you can attain a whole different feeling just by playing with textures. What started out as a pleasant intoxicating sound takes a dark turn on False Sensorial Impressions, almost as if you have woken up from a dream and confronted by the realities of life. One more impressive thing that we get to see here as usual is Willem’s incredible vocals, ranging from operatic cleans to high pitched shrieks, his vocals play a key factor in conveying the emotion behind the music.

Urfaust never give out lyrics, and I can understand why they don’t, because it would be a shame to confine such exquisite emotions into mere words. It’s about how you as an individual associate those emotions with your own unique interpretation of it. Trail of the Conscience of the Dead is definitely the highlight of this album, the point at where it climaxes with a violin only to implode in a turbulent manner followed by a minimalist outro track Eradication through Hypnotic Suggestion which acts as a period of self reflection and to take in how great this album truly is.

Overall, The Constellatory Practice is yet another great album that never seems to lose it’s magic no matter how many times I listen to it, definitely my album of the year without a doubt.

I know this album wouldn’t appeal to everyone because this isn’t the album if you’re looking for something aggressive/intense or want something heavy that you can mosh to. It is for those who want to experience something different, take a moment out to appreciate the fine details in it’s sound because Urfaust isn’t music for the ears, it’s music for the soul.

Rating: 5/5

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