This probably isn’t the album review to say this on, but let me tell you, if you have never just binged symphonic black metal demos from the 90s before, you don’t know what it feels like to live. Some of the oddest, most esoteric, and freakiest black metal related shit you’ll ever find will come from people who decided to make awkward doots over vaguely satanic metal songs.

Shadowlore’s Embers of Light Dying isn’t one of the most well regarded of these demos, although it isn’t entirely unknown amongst those who are in the know. The UK wasn’t the main export of this kind of material at the time, and the project later formed into another blander, yet more recognizable black metal band after, as is often the case. And to be frank, I can see why. While the occasional attempts at epic synth lines are interesting, this demo can’t really decide if it wants to be spooky and esoteric, or cheesy and epic. It creates this awkward inbetween where one half of the song sounds like a demo straight form the crypt, and the other sounds like someone making video game music black metal.

Thankfully it doesn’t fail at either of those attempts, and this weird dichotomy ends up making it stand out among the crowd the most. Truthfully I don’t think this holds up too much as a black metal album as much as a curiosity, but curiosities are damn fun, and if you’re tired of riffs and blast beats, and want something a bit on the esoteric side, you couldn’t go wrong with this.