Perdition Winds – Transcendent Emptiness (2017) REVIEW

Finland’s innovative contributions to second wave black metal are often underappreciated when compared to their Scandinavian neighbors and enjoy a sort of vital cult pedigree alongside Greece and Germany. Seeing groups like Satanic Warmaster and the oddball Impaled Nazarene valued high above Sargeist, Horna or Pest feels like a minor injustice. Perdition Winds pulls from the vast underground of Scandinavian orthodox black metal but balances the brittle frost of old with spacious compositions that fit alongside the modernized vision of groups like Rahu without the intentionally obscured production sound. Their sound on 2014’s ‘Aura of Suffering’ was atmospheric but brutally aggressive and with a line-up featuring members of Lie in Ruins and Corpsessed their debut seemed focused on performance rather than substantial writing. As ambitious as their debut felt it fell flat in an age where folks produce generic black metal by the handful. ‘Transcendent Emptiness’ remedies any previous flatness and displays an encouraging amount of valuable variety.

While some of the atmospheric death metal influences do weigh heavy on a couple of tracks, most of ‘Transcendent Emptiness’ effortlessly channels Finland’s finest black metal history while avoiding obvious Bathory-isms and melodic black metal tropes. The middle third of the album sees an atmospheric black metal shift that never feels like lazy ‘blackgaze’ or post-black but rather resembles the more ritualistic occult darkness that put Finland on the black metal map in the first place. “Saints of the Deathfields”, “Saturnal Void” and “Venus Rising” are the powerful core of this record surrounded by longer compositions that are more familiar when compared to the previous record. The entirety of ‘Transcendent Emptiness’ is dynamic in a way that the old guard of orthodox black metal has lost with age and weathered interest in darker forms of music.

New vocalist J.I. has the sour hiss of ‘In the Nightside Eclipse’ down pat but within the uncluttered compositions he retains the ability to shift between spoken growls and even some death metal inspired moments. I get hints of pagan/folk black metal, the strange punkish orthodoxy of Darkthrone, and this is all a far cry from the dissonant excess of their debut album. I feel an honest yearning for greater meaning on tracks like “Impious Frontier” and that moment alone eclipses a lot of black metal of the year. Sample that song if nothing else! Such identity and visionary growth is worth celebrating as Perdition Winds have returned on their sophomore album with greater personality and ambition; their stylistic choices are so vitally preferable to the previous albums variations on a theme. Though it isn’t all necessary (“Asphyxiation” could have been axed) ‘Transcendent Emptiness’ shows a band taking greater strides with every release and this second full-length is a testament by a band finding a vitally interesting blackened path in earnest.


Artist Perdition Winds
Type Album
Released December 8, 2017
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Desolate inner void consumes. 3.25/5.0