Torii
The Shadow of the Mountain
(Self-Released)

This Arkansas Black Metal two piece, Torii, released The Shadow of the Mountain at the end of 2013. These songs are a repeat of Torri’s first release only ten months prior. The difference being that Torii was a single man’s instrumental project, Bill Masino. But he recruited Eric May to write lyrics, record vocals, and add a sinister aspect of depth to the project. A sparse, lo-fi recording extinguishes any new wave, clean black metal inclinations. The sound looms heavy, often settling in a twisted, torturous mid-paced swirl. Except one interlude, six of the seven songs are all over four minutes. This allows the tracks to explore and push parameters while not dragging on too long.

The interlude, “The Great Hall at Dawn,” is a haunting, somber guitar line scantily plucked with a soundtrack of rain behind it. Actually, the acoustic guitar approach with resonating sounds behind it surfaces in “The Oncoming Storm” and “Lord of Waters” as well. However, the focus of those songs are crippling and harsh atmosphere of disdain. “When the currency stops, the peasants will revolt.” Lyrics like this that May adds leave no ambiguous tone or intent. Words are scathing adversarial chants for the oppressed masses.

Controlling their eyes through puppets on the TV screen /To create a new line of trends for the media scene”

Consistent and ardent, the dissent continues and eschews common black metal themes of forests and supernatural. That is not completely accurate, but the forest references still approach it from a social interest: “Why should we give you this forest?/ You’ll only seek to ruin this to sacred space / This untouched land from beyond the stars

“Endless Glacier” comes in with a torrent of strict riffing and constant drumming. “This endless glacier of sadness and despair that weighs so heavily on my soul” is enunciated through the raspy growl and yields to a slow retraction of tempo that painfully plods as the riffs then pummel the eardrums.

A few days ago, Torii also posted a five minute song from the upcoming album The Elabrynth. Titled, “The Marionette,” is a continuation of this bleak stifling sound that Torii manages expertly.

FFO: Marduk, Darkthrone, Drudkh, Thrall (Hutch)

Get The Shadow of the Mountain here: http://torii.bandcamp.com/album/the-shadow-of-the-mountain

2 Comments

  1. I agree with everything you said. To be honest, your score is dead on with my own. I think that album is more or less an intro, and feel that Elabrynth will show a bolder side of our act. The lyrics are based around a concept this time, yet if you look carefully you should also recognize the societal influences laden within the piece. Elabrynth was inspired by what they sometimes call the “New Roman Empire” after all.

    Believe it or not, there are a few songs on the disc where I thought the vocals cfould be better. I didn’t like the growls on “Lord Of Waters” and if I could have re-recorded them, they’d be like the ones on my personal favorite track, “Inexorable.” I have been working diligently to make sure that I’m pleased with the vocal approach this time around. “The Marionette” is so far my favorite track on the new album. But the rest have yet to be written and recorded…

  2. Thanks for the review! It is great. I also agree with everything you said. The review shines a new light upon what we are doing with the music, and why.

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