Crestfallen Dusk - Crestfallen Dusk (Moonlight Cypress Archetypes)

A new project from the prolific Americana/black-metal artist Ryan Clackner, Crestfallen Dusk’s Hill-Country Black Metal is no gimmick, but yet another success in his goal to create folksy black-metal without neofolk cliché. As Piero Scaruffi said of Black Sabbath, metal is "blues-rock to its extreme consequences", visceral, dense, and haunting. Clackner understands this; from the mischievous malevolence of the opener, to the uneasy misery of "Our Old, Rotting Cabin", he provides serious emotional weight by uniting the most miserable metal with the densest blues. Unlike fellow Americana/black-metal icon Panopticon, folk and metal subgenres aren’t his only fare: the mid-pace lament of "On The Outside of Town" comes closer to slowcore in tone and melody, its patient approach a  tranquil reprieve despite relentlessly gritty vocals. The best proof of concept here, however, is saved until last—six minutes into the closer, the haunting organ and demented picking reach a disorienting climax that could only have come from this unholy union, and the album ends on a cathartic, transcendental peak. Clackner’s only weakness is repetition; tracks 3 and 4 especially suffer from bloat, and would be just as immersive with shorter runtimes. Overall, however, Crestfallen Dusk is a remarkably confident release with a great deal more to say than your usual genre-blender.