SHYLMAGOGHNAR - Convergence
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Release Date: November 10th, 2023
Label: Napalm Records
Finding a unique band name these days is a challenge, but Dutch Atmospheric Black Metal act SHYLMAGOGHNAR clearly managed to create one by puzzling together several syllables that had a special meaning for them (Shyl, Nar, Ma and Gogh). What started as a duo in 2004 meanwhile turned into a one-man, home produced project by multi-instrumentalist and founding member Nimblkorg, who now shares his third album with us. “Convergence” is out on November 10th via Napalm Records, and closes a trilogy that began with "Emergence" (2014) and "Transience" (2018). While these two took the listener on a journey through human existence, time and space, the new one is about the inward journey of death, but also offers an allegory for learning to let go themes from the past that hold us back before moving on.
Musically speaking, we dive into SHYLMAGOGHNAR's world with the nearly 11 minutes, instrumental opener “I Hear the Mountain Weep”, that quickly sparked my interest with its great synth arrangements as well as the wonderful guitar and piano performances. At the beginning, the clean, detailed production made me wondering about the Black Metal tag, as this would be best described as a progmetal overture (which I don't mind at all btw ;-), but the vocals on the next songs make the genre decision more obvious.
Speaking for myself, I’m not the biggest fan of Black Metal vocals, but of course I’m aware that many are diggin’ this raspy style, and fortunately the music’s variety and feeling here prevail my personal reservations regarding this kind of singing. “Follow the River” reminds me of Fires in the Distance sonically, with the touching piano lifting up the song in a beautiful way, and also the mighty "Threshold" and rather catchy "Strata" work well for me.
There’s a lot going on, especially in the second half of the album after the synth-driven “Gardens of the Erased” changed the atmosphere, and also the vocals vary more now between harsh, growled, and mystically spoken. The instrumental "Infinion" could easily be a film score with its cinematic sound structures, taking us to the gloomy title track, which is one of my highlights with its pushing rhythmic and powerful, yet melodious guitar playing. Things calm down a bit with "The Sea" and "Becoming", closing "Convergence" in a wonderful way.
SHYLMAGOGHNAR share a marvelous piece with us, for which I think the tag Atmospheric Black Metal doesn't do justice to describe the musical diversity of "Convergence", as there is so much more going on here, often coming along mighty and cinematic, then again peaceful and mesmerizing. The songs indeed build up an intense atmosphere, and the vocals are mostly rooted into Black Metal stylistically, yet the music also wanders in the wide fields of Progressive and Melodic Death Metal. Considering this is a one-man, home recorded project makes things even more impressive for me regarding the creativity in the song-writing and the great musicianship. All-together, this mix works very well - Check it out \m/
Written by Katha
1. I Hear the Mountain Weep
2. Follow the River
5. Gardens of the Erased
9. The Sea