Despite my high score, I really had to rachet my brain to determine whether i liked this or not. I was really torn on whether this worked really well as is, or if it would’ve been better done as a straight neofolk album. The best way I can describe this is really Death in June gone metal, and it’s done in a way that’s so damn unique I had a hard time coming up with what to judge this by. Normally black metal is so drenched in it’s influences it’s easy to pick apart what aspects of it work and don’t work just by who has done it better or worse, barring some ridiculous avant-garde stuff. This isn’t particularly avant-garde, but I can’t say I’ve heard something like this before, even within their own discography. It just has this melancholy to it that remains constant on the whole album, despite having vocals that border on power metal-like at times.
I feel like I’m wandering through a long hallway through which I see all of the atrocities of history, and in my mind I can’t help but think “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Ironically, Exile’s historical roots are quite unique in that of black metal (of which there is only a very small influence here if I’m being honest), and I determined that sometimes you have to create a new historical line when judging an album. This album works fantastic as a singular and unique entity in the history of black metal, and I can only hope other bands will follow suit. As much as I love traditional black metal riffing, sometimes a new trend based on old sounds can also be quite welcoming.