Review: Coldborn — The Unwritten Pages of Death

Band: Coldborn
Album: The Unwritten Pages of Death
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Belgium
Label: Final Sacrifice Records
Released: 10 May 2024

Introduction

Originating from the dark Belgian realms of black metal, Coldborn is a child out of the brain of Norgaath. He’s in several active Belgian black metal bands, for example; Enthroned, Nightbringer and Grimfaug. Coldborn released their debut album ‘Lingering Voidwards’ eight years ago, and it displayed a gloomy expressiveness and icy atmosphere which attracted attention. The release of their follow-up effort entitled The Unwritten Pages of Death has been a long time in the making, and with large gaps like that, you start to wonder what has become of a band.

But the wait is over, and the new album has been listened too often, so let’s dissect it.

A Cold Return: The Unwritten Pages Of Death

Death’s Unwritten Pages make the return of Coldborn dynamic, evolving from their established sound and thrusting them into other sonic dimensions. The rough and surrounding atmosphere of this album shows that Coldborn can create very deep and engaging music.

One thing that makes the album so appealing to me is its great mix, which combines fierceness with sophistication so that each individual track could affect the listener. This good mixture lets harsh vocals cut through the mix, but it all blends together very well. Such harmony between singing and instrumental background needs to run through the entire album, to make it coherent, at least that’s the case for me. It doesn’t necessarily mean that goes for everyone, obviously.

The drumming on Death’s Unwritten Pages deserves special attention, as every beat seems to be thought out carefully to contribute to the overall dark moodiness of the release. Whether it was done utilizing a drum machine or Norgaath playing the drums, one cannot deny accuracy and strength injected into percussion, therefore supporting a complex arrangement throughout the songs on the album.

Tracklist:

  1. Foreboding
  2. Silenced is The Choir of Euphoria
  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

The fifth track called Harps Of Death Chiming Reverberant is certainly among those worth mentioning because haunted melodies together with soothing piano echoing through its texture create such an eerie feeling… This composition represents everything what this album is about for me – traditional sounding instruments merged with their black metal style, resulting in something very intimate yet hard-hitting at the same time. This album is about death, and this track embodies that feeling for me very well.

All in all, Death’s Unwritten Pages proves that Coldborn has returned and that they released an LP which expands upon their first album. Most significantly, by being experimental without losing touch with fundamental aspects typical for themselves. The harsh and cold sounds mixed with the vocals make for a compelling album.

The visual side of The Unwritten Pages Of Death can’t be ignored either; just like their previous releases, they’ve gone for something quite striking with this one. The front cover has an icy blue hue to it which matches up perfectly with the title and lyrical themes contained here in – death being a central one obviously! Desolation oozes out from every pore depicted in that artwork, making sure you feel cold inside while looking at that artwork.

Conclusion

As a whole, The Unwritten Pages of Death makes for a captivating second effort from Coldborn. This record provides an excellent example of black metal done right, it’s nothing new per se, but it’s executed very well and that’s what more important to me. I find its production value, powerful singing and the drums very nice. It is these things together which give this album such unity thematically, but also visually speaking, together with the artwork, it makes for a complete album and not just several songs on a disc.

So if you are into atmospheric black metal, just give this a spin when it’s released.

BMZ Rating; 7,5 out of 10

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Support Coldborn here: https://coldborn.bandcamp.com/album/the-unwritten-pages-of-death

Your thoughts on Coldborn?

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