Regul- Chambers of Permafrost

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, February 11, 2012

When it comes to depressive black metal and dark ambient, Russia has been a country that has generated quite a few noteworthy acts. This isn’t all that surprising, as it is easy to imagine that the harsh winters would inspire some truly chilling arrangements. Regul is one of these groups, and their newest full length release Chambers of Permafrost has some truly haunting arrangements mixed in with the distorted guitar riffs that are typical for the genre. It may more ambient than black metal, but that’s part of what makes the album feel different and grab your attention.

The majority of bands that mix dark ambient/experimental material and black metal together tend to take the stereotypical route and make either the first of second half of each song ambient and the rest black metal. I’m not sure what Regul has done in the past as this is the first time I have been exposed to them, but Chambers of Permafrost spends the majority of its time creating guitar and synth driven soundscapes that feel very cold and foreboding. It isn’t until a little ways into the second track that the distorted guitars really kick in, and even when this occurs the melodic elements are still the most prominent. This emphasis does admittedly make Regul a bit of an acquired taste, as some black metal listeners aren’t as big on soundscapes as others. But if you can appreciate the right mixture of atmospheric soundscapes and distorted black metal riffs, this release has some of the most mesmerizing I have heard in quite some time.

Chambers of Permafrost is mainly focused on its instrumental arrangements, but there are a handful of songs where vocals are added into the mix. Regul’s vocalist has an extremely distorted scream, and the way that the screams were recorded makes them wash over the instrumentals. This creates an interesting effect, as rather than making the vocals the most prominent aspect of their music the group has made them part of the overall soundscape. I did find myself wondering if some of the instrumental only songs could have benefited from some vocal compositions as they are rather sparse, but what is present on the album does work well.

Regul had quite an active 2011, as it appears that they released another album (in a limited quantity) only a few months after Chambers of Permafrost. But clearly the frequency of material hasn’t hurt the quality of the group’s compositions, as this album has stunning arrangements that have a lot of complexities. Dark ambient and fans of experimental black metal fans should not hesitate to seek this release out, as it truly stands out from the rest.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Solitude Productions

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