Alda: Passage

Ever one of the more compelling and interesting bands of the Cascadian black metal community, Alda’s music seems to have strengthened in its vitality and emotion as the band has strengthened in its collective identity. Their third full-length Passage stands in striking vindication of this – aptly-titled, the record unwinds itself like a journey through the wilderness; at times trembling with fragile beauty and at others roaring with magnificent, windswept intensity. While the band’s impressive ability to blend folk and acoustic influences into their redolently harrowing black metal has always shown them to be worthy of their own praise rather than just another Agalloch/early-Ulver copycat, with Passage the band have evocatively and triumphantly surpassed their own benchmark.

Beginning with the sorrowful, rain-soaked dirge of The Clearcut, Passage quickly shows Alda’s subject matter to be closely entwined to their hearts, the bleakness of the song’s namesake and the band’s lamentations imbuing the track with a profound loss that becomes echoed in the delicate acoustic guitars. The serenity quickly transforms into a maelstrom of aggression however, with drummer/vocalist Michael Korchonnoff’s performance layering further intensity onto an array of hypnotic and ragingly harmonious riffery. This merging of mourning and reverence continues throughout the album, with the title-track’s doom-influenced melodies standing alongside the idyllic, soothing serenade of The Crooked Trail to provide a thoroughly emotional, hypnotic, and exceptionally well-delivered expression of Alda’s creative spirit and inspiration.

Drifting steadily and seamlessly into one another with an almost seasonal succession, the interconnected atmospheres and sentiments of the five tracks comprising Passage shows Alda has moved beyond the youthful trap of releasing a collection of songs, to releasing an album. The most coherent body of work the band has ever released, Passage is a beautiful, aggressive, melancholic and hopeful entity, and will provide an exquisite listen for anybody who has ever been enthralled by the rush of the river, hush of the forest, or the simple introspection of cathartic, passionate, and truly heartfelt music.



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