RHÛN - Conveyance in Death
Album: Conveyance in Death
Genre: Psychedelic Black Metal
Release Date: January 26th, 2024
Another @KManriffs rec on deck. Here we have some Black Metal from Maine, USA. Portland, Maine is blowing up with talent recently – most notably within the BM scene there. Alghol released “Night Eternal” last year, in 2023 – and now we have this debut album by RHÛN.
A lot of descriptors could fit here, but let’s dissect this piece by piece. The music, itself, is varied and compositionally complex. It is unevenly paced, and I will get into why below. In many ways, this feels like a mix-tape – though a good one – and not an album. The flow, contained within the individual songs, is fairly solid, such that everything works in a technical sense. Yet, I still get this feeling like something is “off,” and I can’t quite put my finger on it.
RHÛN makes use of a panoply of instrumentation and FX: your standard 4/5-piece band fair, a multitude of synths, and some interesting pedalboard work. The mix is layered. For instance, sometimes FX-modded lead guitars seem to have more than the standard quad-tracked delivery, and it creates a wash of flangy melody lines that tastefully fall – only just – out of sync with one another, to great effect. The album is sonically clear, but there is still an aura of fuzz and depth consistently present.
The riff-work is the star here. My boy plays all over the map: Traditional NOR/SWE BM, Postgazey-BM, GER/FIN Pagan BM, Alice in Chainsy sections, some Thrashy bits, some Sludgy bits, and other things besides. That thing I “couldn’t put my finger on” is how this variety, as it stands, establishes itself throughout the arrangements. I am no stranger to combining non-traditional elements or writing varied, disparate arrangements. However, I think the ultimate execution is wanting in some non-obvious way. More than occasionally, I feel detached from various sections when moving from one to the next. Each individual passage is notably stong – and even, on occasion, masterfully soaring and engrossing.
More than anything, the string section excels at this “soaring” type of writing. Vacillating between a “pyrrhic victory” and the exiliration of “wing-borne flight and escape,” many emotions compound on one another throughout the songs. The guitar lead lines drive a lot of this emoting, and act as a key feature of the album – often aided, and layered, by even more synths.
In still other sections, a filth-pig energy commits to heavy, pummelling, down-tuned, and sludgy guitar grooves. The heavier guitar tone in these spaces is bassy – but not overwrought – and fuzz-stricken. I think this contrast to the previously described soaring passages – filled with more shrill FX-drenched higher-fret guitar lines, and spacey synths – makes it hard for me to wrap my ears fully around this album. I could see how this would be a draw for some, but when reviewing "Conveyance in Death" as a total product, I feel like the integration of both – though executed well and arranged in a technicallyfunctional way – leads to too much overall disperal of emotional focus.
As for the rest of the mix, the drums and vocals are both good. They’re mixed well for this kind of music, and fill all the gaps of “what should happen, where and when.” The vocals are defintitely another strong feature of this album for me: snarling and unhinged, but less so in a manic way, and much more in a sense of a controlled, mystic bent – simply dripping with reverb and distortion mods. The latter has just enough presence in the mix to be a sonic focus, but still allow the wing-borne guitars to course and fly.
All in all, I think it’s good, but not quite great. It does see improvement with repeat listens. For a debut album, this is a standout and a very obviously ambitious piece of work. At a 36:42 minute runtime, you aren’t doing yourself a disservice to peep this. Plenty of big, sweeping moments present a strong – though, not wholely jaw-dropping – experience. I don’t feel I have any need for a return listen, but I would like to see what this band does with their considerable musical talent in the future.
Aaron Charles – Songwriting, Guitars, Bass, Synthesizers, Vocals, Engineering/Production/Mixing/Mastering
Ray Capizzo – Drums and Drum Engineering/Production/Mixing
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