Ancient Wisdom - _The Calling_
(AvantGarde, 1997)
by: Alvin Wee (8 out of 10)
Released some time back in '97, this impressive opus of melancholic black metal has never received the attention it deserves. As far as hybrids of doom and black metal go, this one-man black mass must surely rank among the elite. Contrasting impassioned melodies with searing vocals, Marcus E. Norman weaves blindingly beautiful tapestries of majestic darkness and evil. The combination of excellent keyboards and foreboding guitars creates an almost tangible darkness, and the result is an immensely engaging piece of majesty -- images of subterranean caverns vying continually with outlines of blackened thrones. Indeed, the luscious harmony on _The Calling_ belies the lyrical emphasis on darkness, evil, and the occult. Almost Bethlehem-esque in atmosphere, AW manages to create a more sprawling and less morbid slab of doom-enshrouded black metal than their German counterparts. Lovers of dark romanticism take heed: this may be one of the best in the genre, and credit goes to Marcus for managing such a complex piece of work without the benefit of other members. If you get bored easily though, you'd be better off sticking to the faster bands.

(article published 5/2/1997)

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