Christian Cosentino
Lawn EP

Generally speaking, when Black Metal introduced classically inspired symphonics (Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle fo Filth,  etc) to its frosty or satanic visages in the early 90ss, it was broad, epic, Wagnerian, tempestuous brush strokes that matched the more often than not, darker atmospheres with regal bombast. Some exceptions came about as symphonic black metal branched out into other realms (Arcturus, Scholomance etc), but for the most part, it stayed in those lanes of classical, dramatic, bluster.

But what if Symphonic Black Metal had a radically different, happier, Rennaisance era, classical influence such as Handel’s Messiah or Haydsn’s Seasons (spring in particular)? What if it was a happy, uplifting mood-enhancing form of classically inspired black metal? Such is the case with the debut 4 song, 30 minute, solo EP from one Christian Cosentino from Auckland, Australia, and my god, at times its breathtakingly gorgeous.

One just need to look at the artwork to see the bright and elegant, happy pastel hues as opposed to barren, windswept mountains and snowy vistas or Norway. And I seem to be saying “these are the best keyboards/synths I’ve ever heard” quite a bit recently, but Cosentino, who is clearly a maestro piano player, uses his considerable skill to enhance some mid-level atmospheric/post-black metal to whole new levels, on par with the likes of the recent Lamentari even. just listen to the opening bars of “Lawn” or “Lustre”…. just gorgeous.

Normally with this kind of music, I listen to see if the underlying music would still be enjoyable without the keys, but here it’s the opposite. The keys and particularly the piano work is front and center and the black metal is a bit of simplistic afterthought, as this is largely instrumental and focused on the keyboards. There are only a few moments where the guitars and raspy vocals all come together to form something akin to true symphonic black metal (end of “Lawn”, “Duality”, the midsection of 12-minute centerpiece “Psychogenic”- where he actually delivers a really impressive moment at  5:35).

The guitars are a bit tinny and the drums are clearly programmed and the vocals are either a distant rasp or post-black croon, but its all wrapped up in such warm, uplifting keyboard work that I’ve not anything quite like it. The nearest comparison I can think of is Ghostbound or the UKs Dawnwalker, but even then the keyboards here are far more prominent.

The amazing thing is, is that this was written between 2017-2o18 when Cosentino was barely out of high school, so he is definitely an act will be keeping an eye on as he fleshes out his unique take on symphonic music.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 9th, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: F. Rini

    Erik. Your review is spot on. This is captivating and uplifting. Killer new type of sounds.


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