Originally written by Erik Thomas.
I have actually owned this album for quite some time now, and even still I have a hard time reviewing it and putting its depressive majesty into words.
Consisting of former Nagelfar (the German one) drummer Alexander Von Meilenwald, Rain Upon the Impure is the second offering of atmospheric, introspective, melancholy and expansively epic black metal that improves leaps and bounds on the wandering debut, Unlock the Shrine.
Clocking in at over 80 minutes with 7 songs, 5 of them over 13 minutes (along with 2 interludes “Rapture” and “Balnaa-Kheil The Bleak”), Rain Upon the Impure is the very epitome of grandiose yet nihilistic art. The grim yet lavish songs that meld traditional fervent and chilling Norwegian black metal with minimalist choral/orchestral arrangements and undulating, regal atmospheres is simply a thing of shrouded, hypnotic ravishing grimness (to coin a perfect term) that has to be experienced on an arcane, desolate level and not merely put into words by me.
From opener, the expressive and haunting “50 Forts Along the Rhine”, through the beautifully doom ridden melancholy of “Soliloquy of the Stigmatized Shepard” to the militaristic and Wagner -esque march and blast of the title track, the album is a brilliant transcendental journey, but not a spiral into madness as say Leviathan and such, but a elegantly haunting musical trip through the mind of Hieronymus Bosch and even Tolkien. Von Meilenwald’s various gasps, moans and shrieks keep you on edge the whole time, often offsetting the wondrous evocative choral arrangements and majestic riffage.
But holy fuck is this a looooooong listen, a listen that’s hindered somewhat by not a bad production per say, but a really odd, quiet recording that doesn’t do the album’s superlative material justice. You really have to crank your stereo/headphones to fully appreciate the ambience that literally drips from every note.
This is arguably one of the finest examples of the suddenly popular one man expressive black metal projects I have heard, it’s just a pity you have to strain so hard to absorb it both literally and figuratively.