Ambient and Symphonic metal often run into walls of mundane sameness that conflict with intended results. No matter what could go wrong with these types music, one-man Scottish project, Bitter Lake, of does not fall victim to it. The composer reliably challenges the genres’ categorical parts to create something unique and as equally beautiful as it is noisy. And noisy it is, as Bitter Lake’s blend of the aforementioned genres is abrasive, aggressive and loud on the single “Frozen Landscapes”, which is taken from an upcoming album.
The song construction and the use of classic black metal fare work well for the project. There’s an energy to the writing and riffing as the frantic brutality of the track comes to the fore in chosen moments. Thus it has both the atmosphere as well as the pummeling force ripping your head off.
From the start “Frozen Landscapes” swirls with dark atmosphere, thickly layered riff construction, and a perfectly epic ambiance. Bitter Lake takes the time to craft a distinct mood and carry it throughout the recording, rather than simply pummeling the listener for the entire six minutes of its length.
But be forewarned when the project pummels, it does exactly that, taking no prisoners. Furthermore Bitter Lake adds faraway growling vocals, just to make sure you get enough of your daily rations of abrasiveness.
There is also a sense of artistic flair introduced during the track’s playing time that makes things slow down and retreat from relying solely on unabated heaviness to drive the record forward. It is proficient in establishing mood and then evolving it as the song progresses.
Because while the first few bars may seem a bit crushing and overwhelming, over time things focus to a single, sharp point. Before long, the line between aggression and artistry becomes blurred, and it is then that “Frozen Landscapes” truly impresses.
The guitar sound is hefty, while the riffs are really sinister and full of energy, accompanied by the furious drumming. These drums are loud and deep, they rumble, vibrate and really bring power to the song, they can sound distant before they charge up and crush you. There’s a fair amount of melodic work hidden in the mix as well.
Hence by spacing all these moments out Bitter Lake has created a much more anticipation driven experience. Bitter Lake has managed to conjure an epic atmosphere and a punishing experience that every extreme Ambient or Symphonic metal outfit wishes to achieve, and with a mix that makes the instrumentation sound positively crushing. “Frozen Landscapes” manages to capture the sheer brutality that is never too far behind the beauty.