Album Review: Glyph – Odes of Wailing, Hymns of Mourning

Review by Olivia Matthews

The new album ‘Odes of Wailing, Hymns of Mourning’ by atmospheric black metal project Glyph has finally been released. You may have seen our previous article where we premiered the song ‘The Unfortunate Gentleman in Question’ and featured an interview with Glyph themself. You can find the article with the track premiere here. ‘Odes of Wailing, Hymns of Mourning’ is a co-release between Shape of Storms Records (vinyl), Fiadh Productions (CD) and Weregnome Records (Cassette) and is out now on all streaming platforms.

The album opens strong with howling vocals and tremolo picked riffs on the song ‘Of the Caverns’ setting the tone for the black metal ferocity the listener will experience during the 35 minute runtime. This song also demonstrates a dynamism in the rhythm section that is present throughout the album, especially from the bass playing. Something which has been a huge standout from the album as a whole. The track also showcases the cavernous atmosphere present within the soundscapes.

Track two, ‘Man has Succumbed to Madness’, is full to the brim with whimsical melodic riffs, often times the slow lead sections juxtaposed with a punchy rhythm section. This combination of contrasting tempo helps to paint the picture of the descent into madness. Again, the bass playing on this track takes you on a journey and is the sole anchor and well seated within the mix, something which tends to not be the norm within black metal. Again, Track 3 ‘All Anger and Hatred Manifesting’ has the progressive baseline under the lead riff giving the song a marching quality, as if the listener has begun to wander through the cavernous soundscapes of the album as mentioned earlier. ’Descending the Loam’ creates a huge atmospheric presence within the centre of the album containing dynamic baselines, haunting synths and aggressive tremolo picked riffs, culminating in a sound that is immensely atmospheric without compromising on the black metal ferocity.

My favourite song on the album is the closing track “Between Ghost and Gloom”. It has an almost death doom like intro which is very reminiscent of a Swallow the Sun track. ‘Between Ghost and Gloom’ slowly evolves into a tremolo picked wall of guitars and takes you on an atmospheric journey whilst again, the bassline carrying you along and entrances a dreamlike quality. The verse comes in and settles into a hypnotic and atmospheric dirge. The main hook from the intro riff comes back again before stopping abruptly to make way for a clean section of ringing notes and swirling synths creating a sombre and subtle environment providing a break from the black metal ferocity before launching in with one of the most aggressive sections of the album. This track epitomises everything which is great about the album and is definitely a must listen. The context of the rest of the album in the lead up to this track adds to the weight of the musical ideas which are being expressed to an extremely high standard.

‘Odes of Wailing, Hymns of Mourning’ is a compact and comprehensive album full of atmosphere and beauty whilst also maintaining a raw and quintessentially black metal soundscape. The album is diverse and progressive whilst staying true to its black metal roots and has a wealth of repayable tracks with melodies that will stay with you long after listening. You can find the album on the Glyph Bandcamp page as well as physical copies at Shape of Storms Records (vinyl), Fiadh Productions (CD) and Weregnome Records (Cassette).

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