Delivered all the way from Slovenia, Snøgg is a band to be reckoned with. This duo first entered the scene in late 2013 leaving a trail of freeride black metal in their wake. Ritual of the Sun being their third album, it’s impossible to escape the sly grasp of the ambient doom drones forcing the listener to lose all sense of time and being, just like Bell Witch’s Mirror Reaper.
The album is made up of three tracks that transcend and morph into one. But make no mistake: each composition should be treated like a chapter of a solemn Pratchett novel. Opener, ‘Ritual of the Sun, Pt. 1’, sets the mood with its subtle yet powerful guitar drones, easing you in but not completely, for you can almost taste the calm before the storm. After six minutes, the mood lightens with soft acoustics and greets you with the warm hand of hospitality, welcoming you to shake its reach. The climax will have you at the edge of your seat as the intensity dial increases a few notches with all sorts of interfering and interesting sounds shaking the listener awake to pay attention to what is coming.
‘Pt. 2’ takes over with the first vocals of the album, delivering a message in a style like Heilung. Something epic is approaching. Clean guitars override the drones, setting the pace like a war drum on a long boat heading into battle. Ritualistic war-kissed chants begin to seep into the track accompanied with earthy drumbeats. It’s almost impossible for the listener to not be engaged with this Wardruna-esque track.
The final chapter of this journey should be a reflection period, for the battle is a triumphant one, the waters are tranquil. Familiar guitar drones and ambient noise fade back in, calming you once more. But there’s more. Angelic tones, almost like a humming, attempt to sooth the listener through the remaining last minutes. They distract you from the unique alien buzz surrounding the ringing guitar chords. ‘Pt. 3’ drips into a spiral beyond insanity, like a Thantifaxath album. This is captivating stuff.
This record has the potential to become a favourite of modern black metal. Never scared to experiment with other genres, it’s also perfect for fans of doom metal and other dark ambient soundscapes. What these guys can achieve in the future is an exciting proposition.
Release Date: 17/07/2020
Record Label: Self Released
Standout tracks: N/A. Listen to this record in one sitting.
Suggested Further Listening: Thantifaxath – Void Masquerading as Matter (2017), Eye of Nix – Moros (2015), Ahab – The Call of The Wretched Seas (2006)