Atmospheric black metal is some of the most trance inducing music that some will ever hear. It has a way of making the listener feel the music rather than just hear it. England’s And Now The Owls Are Smiling not only have a unique name but have perfected the emotions and feelings conveyed by the atmospheric black metal genre. With this being Nre’s (the man behind the project) debut full length, he has shown that he can write compelling music that has emotion, musical talent and raw creativity behind it. He delves into sounds of depressive black metal through out this release while keeping a strong atmospheric soundscape. The album is relatively long but the right amount of time for Nre’s flow of creativity and brilliance.
The album has the feel of being the soundtrack to an approaching storm while portraying the screams of a tormented soul by despair and pain. Tracks do have the signature black metal passages and screeching vocals but also transition into beautifully written gentle strummed guitar melodies that add to that atmosphere of melancholy. Tracks such as Do Not Look Here For Hope, For Hope Has Gone and The Silence are great examples of the use of Nre’s transitions and depressive black metal style riffs to make the album so well rounded as not each riff or track is bland or repetitive.
This album is a great first endeavor that shows some musicians just know how to write a solid release right from the start. There is something for every type of black metal fan from riffs and drum passages that are reminiscent of old Burzum to the droning guitars and slowed drum patterns that can be comparable to those of ColdWorld. This is not an album that anyone should pass up. Many bands sound very similar to others to the point we do not even try to distinguish them from the lot but any listener of And Now The Owls Are Smiling will be surprised, emotional, entranced and more so, happy that they took the time to check this album out. I highly recommend this album and enjoyed it fully.
Overall Score: 9.0/10
Review by Neil Andersen