Review: Despite the throat-throwing vocals that rasp and scream like Burzum, and the sawing rhythm of these riffs, there is nothing of original importance here but a relatively predictable release that makes pleasant listening from its careful production.
Simplistic trodding riffs plod over rock n roll beats in the cheesy keyboard glare of atmospheric cheese. Heavily dramatic romantic passages bring out the worst in black metal cliché, and the music reverts to the simple punk rhythms and paced choruses that are its core. But this album is built around the keyboards, which move and evolve gracefully over atonal, simple, grating guitar; varying percussion emphasizes these moments.
1. Intro - Black Sun
2. I, Ruler of Paradise in Black
3. The Silence of December
4. The Final Affliction of Xafan
5. A Shining Blaze Over Darkland
6. Under the Autumn Tree
7. Here Lies My Kingdom
8. My Travels Through the Midnight Sky
9. Red is My Blood...Cold is My Heart
10. Outro - Bizarre Landscape
Songs are structured around an uber-rhythm to a riff, abstracted from its dominant pattern of emphasis to form a structural division structure for each song. This leads to simple, gratifying patterns that rise and collide with no apparent expression other than the immanent value of such disharmonic architecture. Gothic keyboards move stagnant paces to climax and conclusion, subtle anti-events that linger in the aftermath.
A powerful framework of music in the keyboards keeps the songs from lapsing into monotony but the rest of the effect rides on the strange looping guitar noise and the fractured march rhythms that introduce each song in heartbeat pop music increments. This does not save this realease as black metal; for extended, overdramatized atmospheric metal/rock with a touch of Dead Can Dance keyboard composition, it suffices, but for the kind of complexity and design of expression found in excellent black metal you will have to look elsewhere.