|U. S. A.
We have been dealing with the Eisenwald re-releases of the first two works by Alda over the past few weeks, but what exactly makes this record published in 2009 by the quartet from the state of Washington still relevant in 2018? The reason is actually quite simple.
As you probably know, Alda is one of the many atmospheric black metal bands to have come out of the Pacific Northwest across the United States and Canada over the ’00s and early ’10s. With acts such as Agalloch and Wolves In The Throne Room as their main inspirations, this band managed to gather some following even abroad. This being said, apart from the strictly musical side, one of the reasons why we might want to go back to this brand of black metal today is, unfortunately, the extreme topicality of its fundamental theme: the relationship between us humans and the Planet.
In the last twenty-odd years, the topic of human influcence on Earth has entered the realm of extreme music (also thanks to the aforementioned Agalloch), and public debate as well, but it seems that too many people — especially those with some position of power — haven’t fully realized the urgency of this matter yet. This is how a work like Alda can become very relevant once again.
Musically speaking, this is clearly a less mature album than Tahoma, as explained by Alda themselves in the booklet as well. Nevertheless, the four musicians showed some pretty interesting stuff on this debut too, like their acoustic vein in “Scattered On The Wind” or the reckless blows of “The Seed And The Hailstone”, both of which I actually invite you to listen to if you enjoy this kind of black metal.
I believe the most appealing aspect of this album, which in itself might feel a bit outdated in terms of music today, is definitely its content. The strength of “Venom In The Waters”, in particular, lies in its accusation against whole generations that have preferred and keep on preferring relentless exploitation, to the chances of survival for mankind and the other living beings that share the world with us: «Accursed be those who sold their sons and daughters for poisoned gold».
There’s also a notable circular inscription in the booklet, in which every being is part of something wider and consequently one with the cosmos, a universe that we have to treat sensibly, even if it is just in order not to suffer ourselves (I especially liked the verses «Our Land is of our World. Our World is of our Cosmos»).
Over the following years, Alda improved their musicianship even more (as you can notice in their latest work Passage), but also on this debut here recovered by Eisenwald you can enjoy something genuine and well-crafted. All the more so since, even almost ten years after its release, we don’t seem able to come to terms with its message.