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The Unwritten Pages Of Death

Belgium Country of Origin: Belgium

The Unwritten Pages Of Death
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Buy on: Bandcamp
Type: Full-Length
Release Date: May 10th, 2024
Label: Independent
Genre: Black
1. Foreboding
3. Cold Void Rife
4. The Antechamber Of Eternal Sleep
5. Harps Of Death Chiming Reverberant
6. Cornucopia Hungers For More
7. Life’s Aureole No Longer Gleaming
8. A Spectral Dance Of Midnight Sorrow


Review by Vladimir on April 14, 2024.

Somewhere around last year, an acquaintance of mine had bought an LP of a black metal band that neither of us had heard before, while he was on his trip to Belgium, where the band originates from. The LP that he held in his hands was Lingering Voidwards by Coldborn from Flanders, a one-man band formed by Norgaath of bands like Enthroned, Grimfaug and Nightbringer. Eventually, I decided to check out Coldborn, and to my surprise it was actually a nice discovery, although my interest in the band still wasn’t that big afterwards. Some time has passed and I had initially forgotten about Coldborn, especially since the band’s first album Lingering Voidwards was released back in 2016 and nothing really came out since, but come Spring of 2024, everything would change. Coldborn has returned with the second full-length album The Unwritten Pages Of Death, with the release date of May 10th, 2024 via the label Final Sacrifice Records. Although I was surprised to see the band come back with a new album after a while, I still wasn’t that excited to check it out, but I figured that it would be nice to give it a chance regardless. Little did I know what awaits me, and I have to say that nothing could closely prepare me for this nocturnal odyssey that stood amidst the cold dark. If you are willing to know what is it that I have stumbled upon, be sure to stay awhile and listen. 

The opening of this album is truly, like the title suggests, 'Foreboding', setting the stage for the nocturnal horror that will swallow the world in cobalt colored darkness. As the opening introduction ends, ghoulish black metal emerges from the death-defying halls of the underworld on the second track 'Silenced Is The Choir Of Euphoria', devouring at full speed. The atmospheric output of Coldborn is filled with dread and horror, expressed through symphonic keyboards, pianos, relentless riffs and occasional somber melodies, which along with the dynamic drums and blood-curdling harsh vocals manage to convey more than just chaos and death. What will definitely manage to sink in your head is the fact that there is a strong sense of musical crescendo with a powerful build-up that prepares you for something grand and important that’s about to happen. In the case of this album, never does this musical build-up give you a sense of false hope or an incredibly lackluster delivery, because every next section that comes to turn truly represents a big event or crucial chapter in the album’s journey. Every song is guilty of this carry-over formula, and I absolutely adore it because it really keeps you on edge and wanting to follow along as the album progresses. People would often argue that contemporary black metal simply cannot have moments of musical exposition, but the examples like the fourth track 'The Antechamber Of Eternal Sleep' and 'Harps Of Death Chiming Reverberant' showcase exactly that, proving that what was once lost can be regained, while also proving wrong all those who constantly doubt and moan. The album progression is so strong and effective that you just always end up surprised with all that you’ve just experienced, going on this strong emotional and mesmerizing rollercoaster that snatches you instantly. Once the music crawls right underneath your skin, you will be possessed by black metal all the way through, holding your attention up until the epic finale of the last track on the album, 'A Spectral Dance Of Midnight Sorrow', a lycanthropic serenade that presents such a powerful yet bittersweet conclusion that leaves you simultaneously satisfied and a bit sad to realize that this wonderful journey came to an end. 

Coldborn’s dynamic songwriting contains a variety of ideas in the riffs, each conveying a different set of emotions and unique form of atmosphere. A lot of the times it feels quite nocturnal and gothic, at times incredibly epic and grand, or emotional and melancholic, with each song being fulfilling and exceptional in some way, and leaving no room for empty, soulless and uninspiring moments. I really like a lot of the somber and suspenseful moments on this album, especially on 'Cornucopia Hungers For More', that gives this feeling of an epic odyssey covered in black and shrouded in mystery. The fact that this entire album was written by one person is truly amazing, because a lot of the time it felt like the ideas that were incorporated were brainstormed by at least 4 to 5 people who were equally passionate and dedicated to achieve a great purpose. Norgaath obviously knows what works best in black metal and how to use every aspect of that subgenre properly and effectively, to the point where you just can’t fault him for doing anything he does, especially the way he does things. During my listening, a lot of the times I felt as if some elements of Coldborn’s music have a lot of common with bands such as Enthroned, Emperor, Dissection, Diabolic Masquerade, Odium, Limbonic Art, Obtained Enslavement, and various notable 90’s black metal bands, and it’s not just in terms of influence, but also in the way of expressing emotions and the overall songwriting execution. Another highlight apart from the amazing musicianship, is the beautiful cobalt blue album cover by Luciana Nedelea, whose style perfectly suits the musical output of Coldborn, and it conveys a lot of its atmosphere. On the final sound, the album has an excellent production where everything sounds crystal clear while still maintaining that raw black metal energy. 

I must admit that The Unwritten Pages Of Death turned out much better than I initially expected, because the final result managed to leave me without words and pleasantly surprised. Sure, it is a black metal album like any other, but at the same time, it is a wonderfully master crafted work that checks all the marks for me, and I am sure it will do the same for any other fan of 90’s black metal. It is hard to express what this album does to you and it’s simply not enough to say that it’s great, because it took you on this whole journey unexpectedly and brought you back thinking “I want to do it all over again, again and again”. For fans of Enthroned, Odium and Limbonic Art, you must check out this album, because you are in for a real treat. 

Rating: 9 out of 10

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