In Rigen, Cohol have created one of the more traditional black metal albums that is neither lazy or full of clownish stereotypes.
Pure black metal has been stagnated for years. Over the last five or more years, the standouts in the genre have incorporated sounds and styles from a variety of musical influences, from Deafheaven’s additions of shoegaze to Kvelertak’s black and roll style. This transformation was been controversial for many fans, with many reverting to a purist viewpoint. However, bands that fall into “pure” black metal, for lack of a better term, have either become boring or gimmicky. A joke of their former selves.
Which is why Cohol is so interesting. In Rigen, they have created one of the more traditional black metal albums in a while that is neither lazy or full of clownish stereotypes. It’s just hard hitting black metal with all the elements we remember. The instrumentation, vocals, and song-structures are more reminiscent of the second wave of black metal than the first wave, which allows the beauty of the album to come thorough. While listening through the album, early Satyricon and Dimmu Borgir come to mind. However, the album never feels dated.
While darkness and anger energizes the album, there are elements of atmospheric and depressive stylings that add to the listenability of the album. Appropriately named opening track “Frozen” brings a calmness that then crashes down with the next track. However, these softer additions are minimal, which is why I refrain from adding Cohol to the likes of Ghost Bath, Heaven in Her Arms, or Agalloch. This album is too brutal in parts for the above comparisons.
While darkness and anger energizes Rigen, there are elements of atmospheric and depressive stylings that add to the listenability of the album.
The power behind Cohol’s style no doubt comes from their beginnings. On tracks “Funeral March” and “Arche Pathogen”, you can hear death metal influences. Drummer Kyosuke keeps his style simple and traditional while laying a solid foundation for the other two members to build on.
Cohol understands how to take the elements fans have come to love about extreme metal and strip away the cartoonish qualities to it. They focus on the music, not the theatrics and in turn, create a refreshing black metal album. Rigen is something you can bang your head to, get angry to, or relax to. What makes this album promising is that it has an ability to connect emotionally with it’s listeners, while being faithful to its genre. After a long hiatus, I’m glad to see Cohol come back out with such a strong offering. (8.3/10)
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