November 24, 2019

Rosk - Remnants

By Master of Muppets. Poland's Rosk have captivated me from the very first moments of their debut, Miasma. The masterfully executed suspenseful passages and brilliant balance between blackened abhorrence and baleful ambience of Miasma made for an immersive, mesmerizing experience that I'm still completely unprepared for
By Master of Muppets.


Poland's Rosk have captivated me from the very first moments of their debut, Miasma. The masterfully executed suspenseful passages and brilliant balance between blackened abhorrence and baleful ambience of Miasma made for an immersive, mesmerizing experience that I'm still completely unprepared for. Naturally, I was quite excited to learn that more Roskelry lay on the horizon. Stupidly, I was mildly disappointed to learn that Remnants would be an acoustic endeavor. Amazingly, I was wrong on both counts: this acoustic album is all kinds of awesome, to the point of trumping any expectations I'd held for a 'proper' electric follow-up.

Remnants is not your average acoustic album; it isn't an unplugged reconstruction assembled from the bones of earlier works, nor is it a collection of folky guitars and intermittent screaming passing itself off as metal. Like its predecessor, Remnants utilizes familiar building blocks for its own unique design, ultimately creating a soundscape unlike any that I've ever visited. This is a world absent hope or light, painstakingly crafted from minimalist acoustic guitars and haunting cello arrangements. Its delicate darkness and mournful lyrical poignancy render Remnants every bit as heavy as anything else bearing the black metal banner.

To be fair, Remnants is perhaps more closely related to doom than the atmospheric blackness that preceded it, but the fact remains that its six tracks comprise an emotional weight and intensity on par with the more straightforward sonic thunder of doom contemporaries such as Morne or Officium Triste. The simple yet nuanced plea of "Wait for me/ hold my hand... don't leave me (within rosary)" repeated throughout "Rosary" conjures darkly clear imagery of the loss of a loved one, and the haunting ambience that introduces "Ceased in Me" is as dissonant and anxiety-inducing as the scariest Icelandic act you can think of. Though it might not horrify your neighbors or deafen you in the process, Remnants will stuff you to the gills with all the weight and woe of the most funeral of dooms, and it is absolutely not recommended for the faint of heart.

As with Miasma, Remnants' greatest strength lies in its aptitude for perfectly paced progressions and their respective accompanying payouts. When "The Long Solitude" quietly erupts into subdued harsh vocals and decidedly more heavily handed instrumentation, it's like watching a slow motion car accident among loved ones; you can feel each passing moment intensify as the sonic scene plays out, you know that there is going to be a crash but the resultant explosion overtakes you all the same. "A Dying Breath" is another standout example of flawlessly timed and tender ruthlessness, patiently drawing an ominous doomy passage from a plodding background atmosphere into an all encompassing wall of gloom over the course of nearly nine minutes. Timing is something Rosk have a truly impressive grasp on, evidenced most admirably here among this barebones collective of unplugged sounds.

I can't recommend Remnants enough. It wanders admirably far outside the box of traditional acoustic metal conventions, sacrificing none of the passionate darkness of Rosk's electric works along the way. It is not an alternative to their plugged-in sound, but rather an alternate form of the very same essence. This Polish act has once again introduced me to a hauntingly wonderful new world, and though it might not be as harsh and jagged as the rest of the metalverse I would urge you to explore the shadow lands of Remnants for yourself, you might just find yourself not wanting to leave.

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