Aylwin
The Arch Holder

So first up, here is your early contender for the year’s most unreadable logo, right?

I’m new to California’s Aylwin, though they have a pretty good amount of demos, Eps and splits under their belt since 2012, But the promotional email had buzz words like Alda, Ameseours, Wolves In The Throne Room, and ‘nature-centric atmospheric black metal’, so I thought I’d give them ago, especially with my current infatuation with the genre.

Well, while from California, these guys put off a very ‘Cascadian’ vibe certainly in the Alda and Wolves in the Throne Room mold (and some Downfall of Gaia), but a little more raw and feral. The single 30-minute track that comprises The Arch Holder covers all the genre tropes from soothing, tidal ambiance and brittle, fuzzy black metal and distant shrieks, but even though I’m really into the genre right now, there isn’t anything that really leaps off this wonderfully packaged, limited edition cassette, to make me check out the band back catalog.

All the pieces are here, and there’s is nothing bad about either of the 2 tracks (there’s a natural ambient split about 15 minutes in that sort of breaks the material up), it’s just that it’s not quite elite, though the second part seems a little more emotive and memorable. The ambient passages are nice and coastal, the blast beats have a nice 6/8 gait and a bit of a crust tone, but there is never really any emotional peak or crescendo to hang my hat on or blow me away and revisit.

But if you want some unique packaging and a limited edition of a solid, if unspectacular release, in the vein of the bands mentioned above, The Arch Holder certainly offers both up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 24th, 2021

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