Dark ambient of the type that can fall into categories such as dungeon synth or the more cosmic variety type of spacing out is an interesting companion of black metal that retains the whole atmosphere minus the transcendental aggression of the former. The way texture tends to vary throughout rather constant expanses and the attachment to long and simple but expressive melodies is itself a refinement of the musical spirit of black metal. Arthame’s Fiendish Symphonies, in particular, is a clear attempt to fuse the two together in an obvious acknowledgement of this kinship.
The writing methodology for each song is exactly the same, producing something akin to constant-texture riffs that are entirely adequate for synthesizer. The sounds selected for the synthesizer are not changed and they are kept minimal so as to further enhance the sense of a certain approach. These effects are changed a bit in different tracks depending on the wanted effect, but they always remain in the vicinity so that the artistic voice in the writing is further enhanced and supported by a particular instrumental timber. As an additional touch, there are brief inclusions of rasped vocals in the background of this pensive music.
Given these observations, it is only fair to look at Fiendish Symphonies as distilled black metal; we can hear the sombre and impersonal mood that alludes to night-sky contemplation along with a self-realization away from the mediocrity of the crowd; there is loneliness in this music, and yet, a soft whispering of a serpent perhaps, or of the Earth itself, or is it the Moon itself drawing us towards it? Is it the memory of blood and soil that links us to this planet in different ways? Is it a call to the stars? I am inclined to believe it is all of these, and a shadow-call for us to reconnect with what saw us become human, and what gave rise to our dark beauty that cannot be contained in deterministic models.
Arthame communicates this vision and leaves us wondering of a possible brethren amongst the stars, although we cannot tell if such a cosmic desolation is a premonition of the future of humanity in projections based on an ancestral memory of our more primitive past here on Earth. As a fulfillment of the black metal ideal, Arthame conjoins all of these together beyond rationality, and in individual discernment beyond opposites in a holistic apprehension of reality that is at once intuitive and logical.