Over the years I have slowly come around to liking more black metal projects, but none do more justice than those that focus on the atmosphere that brings you on a journey. British Columbia’s own Liminal Shroud does just this on their second full-length, All Virtues Ablaze (Willowtip Records). In just under forty minutes (across only four tracks), this album will be sure to be part of many conversations towards the end of the year.
‘Hypoxic’ opens up All Virtues Ablaze firing on all cylinders out of the gate. The guitar riffs paint quite a lot of emotion; melancholy and dread seem to be the most prominent. ‘Mists Along Florencia’ picks right up where the last track left off. Best passage of the track is losing yourself in a repeating guitar riff that leads to a breakdown of sorts before blowing back open with blast beating drums.
The back half of the album then starts up with ‘Transmigration I – Pelagic Voids’, featuring quite the buildup for the first minute or so. The rest of the song I find myself getting lost in frequently and come back to realization with the little bridge/break in the middle. Closing out this collection of songs is ‘Transmigration II – The Cleansing Ash’. Being the longest song on the album (twelve minutes) I had high expectation that this song would close out the album with style and does it ever. Some chanting-like vocals in the second half of an interlude with epic guitar riffs as if preparing for a battle. The battle finally comes nine minutes in and finishes out strong.
Liminal Shroud, if nothing else, has earned the “Why is This Band Not on My Tidal Favorites Yet” thanks to All Virtues Ablaze. Every moment from start to finish felt specifically crafted to tell a story that is wrapped up perfectly by the end of the final song. I do find that I have to restart from the beginning of the album sometimes as I just drift off into my own thoughts during different passages; not out of boredom, but almost trance-like, and I cannot say this for many black metal albums in recent memory.
8 / 10