Label: Pulverised Records
If you haven’t checked out this year’s Moerae yet, do so. It is a three-way split between Vacantfield, End, and today’s band, Awe. Three mega tracks around the same theme, this album is pretty crushing black metal from three relatively unknown acts. Which brings me to Providentia, the debut album from Awe. They released the Moerae split way back in March, but I’m guessing they did so as a taste of what was to come.
Awe is a Greek black metal band, but they carry little of the classic Greek black metal sound. Instead, they weave massive songs filled with riffs, booming vocals, progressive drum patterns, and a technical streak. Providentia is a three track, 50-minute album full of crushing, powerful black metal that leans on death metal, atonal passages, and a slight bit of progressive/avant-garde goodness. It’s dripping with atmosphere and beautiful.
Actus Primus, the first of the three, is a 20-minute slab of pure fury, although it takes a little while to build up steam. The album opens up with simple picked notes, sounding slightly off-tone. The sound finally comes to head, but the speed does not pick up; Awe knows how to properly execute a slow burn of anticipation. Once the vocals finally come in, prepare for a harrowing journey. Actus Primus is an unending assault of riffs, vocals, smashing drums, and a furious pace. When it does take a moment to slow down, it brings in the sound of eerie female vocals, as if you were slowly paddling your boat through a vast sea of darkness accompanied by singing sirens just out of sight. Actus Primus ends with the sound of windchimes, a fairly light ending for such a song, but it makes the perfect quiet moment between this and the second song, Actus Secundus.
Actus Secundus starts immediately, throwing vocals and crashing drums at you immediately. The song is faster than Actus Primus, and features drumming that brings the music much closer to traditional black metal than it’s been so far with a healthy dose of blast beats. Actus Secundus can reach speeds that are dizzying, especially when they throw in these riffs that sound like your neck being cranked back and forth, while at the same time remembering to drop the tempo just slightly here and there. The song is almost progressive in its constant time shifts and endlessly changing sound. There is even a section in the middle of the song where Awe is basically giving you as close to a bass guitar solo as most metal acts can provide. And finally, we once again hear chimes, although this time it is deep bells that toll, announcing the final act of this triptych, Actus Purus.
Actus Purus is by far the most strange of the three songs, with atonal notes all over the place. The head yanking sounds that I mentioned earlier are in full force, as Awe piles on jarring turn after jarring turn, especially in the latter half of the song. Actus Purus is Awe cementing their reputation as an act that is both brutal as well as experimental.
Providentia is a towering achievement for a debut, combining the heaviest elements into ambitious songs. This album features everything: atmosphere, crushing sounds, technical prowess, and interesting song writing. If Providentia doesn’t turn heads, then I don’t know what will. I cannot wait to hear what is next from Awe, they are one of the top debut acts of this year to follow. This is required listening for 2015.
Check ’em out here: https://pulverised.bandcamp.com/album/providentia