When all your heart beats for is torn from you, when every light in your darkness is extinguished, how then do you find the strength to walk forward into another day, to even take another breath? In a world bereft of beauty, a cold, pale shadow drained of warmth and colour, you can only fill your veins with ice, transform your love to hate and feed upon the blood and ashes of vengeance. You take bitter sustenance from the hunt and look no further than the crimson horizon of the final kill. Then and only then can you submit to the aching weariness and allow your heart to break and die…sink at last with the setting sun into soft, black oblivion.
The Warrior Cycle is a tale of loss and revenge told without words, a saga of grief brought to life by the spellbinding music of Bleakwinter Shrine, Arx Atrata and Arx Atrata’s ambient incarnation Arx Silvestris. Wholly instrumental, the four tracks and three interludes are woven together into an unfolding tapestry of atmospheric black metal that invokes vivid, vibrant images and intense, powerful emotion. The story is there for all to hear as the album progresses, the words snatched from the lips of a bard and secreted within the shimmering snowstorm of notes. From Bleakwinter Shrine’s ‘Desolation’ that opens this tragedy in an onslaught of pain, through the gaping void of Arx Silvestris’ ‘Solitude’ and the bleak majesty of Arx Atrata’s ‘Retribution’ this journey is overwhelming in its intensity. When the icy beauty of Arx Atrata’s ‘Succession’ draws down the final curtain on this passion play the listener is left momentarily bereft and bewildered as the mundane world slowly reasserts itself into the echoing silence. More than a ‘split release’, The Warrior Cycle is a blending of magics, a confluence of artistries and a retelling of a tale as old as humanity in a wonderful play without words.
Individually Arx Atrata and Bleakwinter Shrine have proved their mastery of atmospheric music through releases like the former’s The Path Untravelled and the latter’s Fulmination, together they have created something that draws upon both their unique talents and transforms them. This marriage of gifts and entwining of visions has resulted in one of the most enthralling albums you will hear this year. Listen with your heart to an ancient tale that lives within the roots of us all.
Arx Atrata and Arx Silvestris are Ben Sizer
Bleakwinter Shrine is B.C.
Genre: Post Black Metal