Dawn of Ouroboros 
Velvet Incandescence

Skull-fucking the expectations. That could be the title of this review were it to have one. When I reviewed their debut, The Art of MorphologyDawn of Ouroboros had a bright future. However, it felt like their first album, as is frequently the case, was a band attempting to find its voice. I refer to my opening statement.

There’s so much improvement and honing of skills on display that it’s apparent almost immediately. In the opening track, “Healing Grounds,” it’s clear Chelsea Murphy has stepped up her vocals, as she runs through her soulful cleans, but uses high rasps throughout. Her deep gutturals also come into play. The weeping melodies bring to mind Insomnium, but only if they did post black metal.

A lengthy track called “Levitating Pacifics” is just shy of being in the middle of the album. It’s about 8 minutes and has an intro with some clean guitars, very subtle background synths, and it lasts for nearly 3 minutes before it gets heavy. Blasts, lower growls, and tremolo-picked harmonies sync well together. This does not let up until around 3 minutes left where a spoken word section begins. This seamlessly transitions into a clean vocal passage, despite the fact the drumming never lets up. If there were any doubts before this, Dawn of Ouroboros has dived headfirst into progressive black metal.

The first half of the album is no slouch, as proven by the tracks I’ve just mentioned, but the latter 3 are perhaps the best on offer. “Castigation” feels like an interlude and when you look at its runtime, it seems obvious, but that’s not exactly the case. It begins with some soft-spoken words, but make no mistake, it turns vicious and has a slight metalcore bounce in its latter half, not completely abandoning those elements from their first album.

The closing track, “Velvet Moon,” is where it all comes together. There’s no lengthy intro, and Chelsea’s throat-shredding vocals are focused on destroying everything in their path immediately. I seriously hope she’s okay because they sound painful in parts. The vocals are at odds at least on the surface with the somewhat warm melodies, not unlike Ghost Bath or Kardashev, two instantly recognizable bands in the post-black metal subgenre.

I alluded to it before, but this new album is a step up in every significant way. It’s difficult to describe what’s different about Velvet Incandescence as opposed to other post-black metal albums. Perhaps it’s passion and overflowing youthful confidence. Perhaps it’s the feeling that this group seems as though they will continue to evolve creatively. It could be the tease that this is excellent, a definite must-listen, and album of the year contender, but their best work still seems to be ahead of them. We should all feel fortunate to witness it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
May 31st, 2023

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