As it happens, I love autumn. Though that’s perhaps a non-coincidental by-product of my environment, being Canadian. In my country, autumn is not just a season but a complete transformation. Entire forests seem to burst into flames, presenting a mesmerizing palette of colours that illuminate the countryside like a completely natural fireworks show.
I also happen to love the traditional music of the far east. My playlists have always contained a varied mix of things, but pieces featuring the traditional instruments of China, such as the guzheng, the qin, the pipa, the ruan and- my favourite–the erhu, have always presented themselves whenever I needed something a bit different to captivate my thoughts.
As such, as it goes without saying that I have an immense love for black metal, I really appreciate the Chinese black metal band Zuriaake (葬尸湖). Another fantastic band signed to Pest Productions, Zuriaake produce an extremely captivating style of DSBM thematically portraying the essence of autumn and nature, sadness and complete desolation.
Romanized to Gu Yan, 孤雁 is an incredibly powerful and artistic album, which will be my centrepiece for this challenge.
Gu Yan is a dreamscape, drifting melancholically through passages of serene traditional Chinese instrumentation, unforgiving black metal and cinematic overtures alike. This is the perfect sonic entity to represent the stillness that autumn introduces to the Earth. This is a release from 2015, roughly an hour long, that will force you to surrender yourself completely to its music. Between the two instrumental bookends to this think-piece are searing vocals with Chinese lyrics, about emptiness and the bleakness of nature.
If you’re looking for something to listen to when you need to think, this is it. This is a stunning example of the potential of the Chinese DSBM scene, pierced with melancholic melodies and nostalgia, and laced with all the beauty of traditional Chinese music, in such a way that no part of it can overpower the sheer emotion with which Gu Yan is infused.