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Austere - Corrosion of Hearts

In 2009, Austere released To Lay Like Old Ashes, the greatest depressive black metal album ever made. One year later, they split up. The depressive black metal scene fell on hard times since then. It became oversaturated with terrible, no talent acts. Good albums were few and far between. Then, in 2021, Tim Yatras and Mitchell Keepin resurrected Austere, and two years later, they released Corrosion of Hearts, their first full-length album in fourteen years. This took me completely by surprise. I had no idea they even got back together, let alone recorded new material. After listening to it, I can safely say that the passage of time has not dulled them one bit.

The production is just as pristine as it was on their last full-length. Everything can be heard clearly while still possessing a wondrous, enveloping atmosphere. The drums mostly stick to playing slow and simple beats, but they sound strong and often throw in many flourishes. Sometimes they include double bass that sounds like the hard thumping of many anxious hearts, most notably on "A Ravenous Oblivion." These patterns are then punctuated by fantastic fills.

The guitars remain magnificent. The formula they use is unchanged, but they have been given new energy. Every single riff is crafted with the utmost care. The emotions they express are profound, whether they be the ones on the appropriately named "Sullen" or the dark and malevolent ones on "The Poisoned Core." The vocals once again steal the show. They don't do as many anguished howls as they used to, but they do perform rasps that are filled with anger and bitterness. Then there are the clean vocals, which solidify the somber mood of the whole album. Every moment in which they appear is pure magic.

I have always felt that Austere's death was premature, so it's good to know they got back together to expand upon their musical designs. They remain peak depressive black metal, a magnificent example for all other bands to follow. Will the scene see a revival after this? Only time will tell.