When hearing the name True Love, one might not immediately arrive at thoughts of misery, isolation, torture or despair. However, upon hearing the visceral audio savagery that is Ryan Young’s solo black metal project, that is exactly where you will arrive.
I first came across this project when Ryan mailed me his tape, appropriately titled Meditating Through Illusion, released through Attic Age records earlier this year. Clocking in at nearly 23 minutes, “Meditating..” is unwavering in it’s ability to conjure specific imagery and emotions, capturing feelings of negativity and encompassing an atmosphere of agony. Opening track “Prison” is a lush instrumental (minus some eerie chanting) that acts as a warning of things to come, rather than a prelude. “Sovereign Warrior” begins the rampage of razor sharp riffs and tortured vocals that will set the stage for the rest of the album, ripping and tearing it’s way through through “The Final Drought” and “Lysergic Baptism.” The battery of live drums continue to blast and beat with savagery and precision, creating a total sensory assault that never waivers, closing with the misanthropic masterpiece “Evasion.” From start to finish, “Meditating…” will lead you through corridors of horror and despair, isolation and terror. From start to finish, it is as dangerous as it is deadly.
There is a certain authenticity that Ryan brings to True Love that is almost rare these days. Black Metal, to a certain extent, has become stagnated with musicians that attempt to redefine a genre of extreme music that does not need to be changed. Rather than exploring themes that meander in irrelevance, Ryan draws from ideologies that harken back to the old days. In fact, the name True Love has absolutely nothing to do with romance, and everything to do with Satanism, something that a lot of more current black metal projects are afraid to explore, it seems. A conviction to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. An exploration of the mind’s power, taking a path that is dedicated to the realization that there are forces beyond our understanding at work. No excuses, no compromise.
Pulling in influences from Pest-era Gorgoroth and many NWOBHM bands, along with obvious nods to other one man USBM projects of days past, Meditating… is not redefining Black Metal, rather than strengthening the foundation of what it’s true meaning is. True Love is anything but what it seems, yet it is everything that is important about black metal. Cold, dark, brutal and raw – the way it should be.
Meditating Through Illusion is available as a limited edition cassette through Attic Age Records.
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