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Music Review

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While the Gods are Sleeping


Artist: I am the Night
Label: Svart Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 06 May 2022

Svart Records releases While the Gods Are Sleeping, the debut album by Finnish Black Metal band I Am The Night. On guitar and synth is Markus Vanhala (Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum), on bass is Janne Markkanen (ex-Omnium Gatherum), on drums Waltteri Vayrynen (Paradise Lost, Bodom After Midnight), and on vocals Okko Solantera (Horizon Ignited). The band has opted for an aggressive and harsh but melodic sound routed in 1990s Black Metal era. The album was birthed in the Winter of 2021 during the heaviest blizzard Finland had seen in years, and recorded in isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic. Their songs are stories about the worship of the night and the triumph of the powers of darkness; the album described as a time capsule rather than modern Metal. The title track has been released as a single...

Track List: 'While the Gods Are Sleeping…', 'Hear Me O Unmaker', 'Dawnbearer', 'Ode to the Night Sky', 'I Am the Night', 'The Owl', 'Among the Unseen Ones', and 'Holocaust of the Angels'.

A Nice Guitar and Synthesiser intro introduces the album with a Doom-laden moderate pace and slightly growled spoken vocals that are slightly removed. This runs straight into the first proper song. Very soon we have the common 1990s twenty-to-the-dozen-paced drums, and the expected screamed vocals which do occasionally lower to a growl. The drums, however, prove quite varied in pace and style, and the overall theme created by the synthesiser and guitar pieces the whole thing together and drives it along. The trick here seems to be to rush into the tracks with thrashing riffs and percussion sounding as though a blacksmith is on speed. Pretty soon you get used to the format and context of each song. The vocals work well too, seeming to both fit and counterpoint the music. The melodies are almost operatic in their presence and potency.

I love the simple riff and melody which introduces 'Ode to the Night Sky'. It continues as the vocals break in, along with a soaring synth. It’s a lovely hook that cloaks the entire song in a velvet dreamy environment. The best track so far. This sound owes much more to bands like Cradle of Filth than the '80s Black Metal of Venom. The title track incorporates more of a traditional intro. Again, there is an overlying themed melody which allows a closer connection to the song. I’m enjoying this much more than I expected to; I was probably expecting that Venom sound which I never liked. 'The Owl' has elements of galloping Melodic Death Metal and even Power Metal, but the screamed vocals, floating synth and theme-type music pull it firmly back into the desired sub-genre. This one is atmospheric and broken into very different sections, with choral voices accompanying the mild screams. The closer is a particular favourite; a rolling moderate jam.

This is a great collection of songs, thematic but dark in nature. They are clever enough to produce launching points for the new listener, and riffing or melodic hooks to keep you on board.


Ty Power

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