And Now The Owls Are Smiling // Dirges // Album Review
Hailing from north Norfolk, the one-man Atmospheric Black Metal band And Now The Owls Are Smiling has returned and that one man, known as Nre, has emerged with his latest collection of bleak and sorrow led offerings.
If you have not been aware of And Now The Owls Are Smiling and reach for the album, be prepared for what is not only an audible experience but also a very emotional one as what you are about to hear will reach into the dark sections of your mind and trigger thoughts and feelings that you believed were firmly locked away. That phrase about not bottling things up is true because when you listen to And Now The Owls Are Smiling, it is like that bottle has been shaken and then the cork popped. Trist me those emotions are going to fly and you have no control over it.
The album captivates you as soon as it starts, with the crashing and haunting choral vocal of ’Grief’ shrouds your mind the guitars begin to sound as ‘Rejection’ takes us deeper into this enchanting offering which is as soft as it is brutal. The guitars take primacy throughout however this does not detract from the drum or vocal which sound like they are more in the distant.
The vocal is a traditional Black Metal sounding growl and the drums are that pacey deep beat that are matched by crashing cymbals whilst the drone of the guitar continues the constant note that subtly changes. The overall result is breathtakingly and quite incredible. Your imagination is constantly engaged, mine was transported to forest at dusk, with the fog descending and the night-time drawing in. Being there alone, with nothing but your thoughts and as the darkness gets deeper that feeling of hopelessness increases and the colours drain from your vision and everything become black and grey.
By the time this 46-minute album has been spread across its 8 tracks, if this is your first experience, you wonder how And Now The Owls Are Smiling have not been part of your life until now. If you are already a fan, this increases the belief that the band has a special part in your life.
There is no other way than saying that this is one of the most gripping albums I have heard in a long time and is one that stays with you after the music stops. I urge any fan of Black Metal to listen to this and if you are not a fan, when you have listened to Dirges, you will begin to understand why this genre is so important to so many people.
Dirges is released January 29th 2021 via Clobber Records.