Atmospheric black metal experienced a partial renaissance and partial burn out in the mid 00’s. I say both because the dreamy style which was pioneered by 90’s black metal bands and made famous by others a decade later saw relative stardom in non metal blogs and publications. Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch, Skagos, and a tent full of other bands quickly made a handful of albums which ranged from the not so decent to the pretty good. Part of my discontent for atmospheric black, as well as the post rock template which is infused to its core, was how easy it was to connect to feelings of beauty. The twinkling guitars and contrast between soft and harsh sections over long tracks made it easy for wonder and profound contemplation. It is going to take a really good atmospheric black metal release to begin to break this hard shell of indifference.
…and the Lamps Expire is the third self release for Pacific Northwest act Addaura. Though the band writes music surrounding nature and this release only has two real songs and their own album title sounds like a Godspeed You! Black Emperor track, Addaura manages to make themselves unique among the wall of atmospheric black acts. Whether or not it is the mix bwetween raw and polished production or the pit of snarls and shrieks which make up the vocals, songs like “amid the tumult and clamor (I look for the light through the pouring rain.)” feel fresh and new despite all instances and evidence to the contrary. “The sun shines to-day also. (on the oaks of That Bird Hill)” has a wonderful stomp/clap breakdown which is jarring but slips right into the following passage that it makes for one of the more pleasing aspects of the record. Addaura has seemed to weathered the rise and fall of the cascasdian style that it is hard not to root for them in the giant race of United States black metal.
I believe my jaded indifference about this style of music is only from hearing so many records which do not utilize the elements to its fullest potential. Addaura makes use of the strings, piano, and general sense of grandness which inhabits the very short record. I do not think I will be running back to the woods which I once spent so much time in quite yet but for now I can at least enjoy a record from a and that obviously seems to have a good head on its shoulders.