Hailing from the scenic, expansive and open landscapes of rural North Norfolk (UK), And Now The Owls Are Smiling ia an atmospheric/depressive black metal project from the fascinating mind of Nre. Using nature, grief, solitude and desolation as his inspiration, he fills his sounds with such tangible darkness that the listener is inevitably wrapped up within them. Bands such as Winterfylleth and Fen have established themselves amongst the most well-known UK atmospheric black metal bands and it is now that And Now The Owls Are Smiling brings further intrigue and despair to this arena.
As time gently draws a pall of velvet darkness across the closing eyes of this broken year, Nre, the bard of And Now The Owls Are Smiling, emerges from his solitude once more. He brings with him Dirges (2021), a new collection of songs for the heavy-hearted who shield their sorrows from the world like a flickering flame in a storm, to whom the sadness is a treasure, a pathway of memory, a gift never to be relinquished. Dirges is the distilled essence of that deep melancholy, a bleakly beautiful landscape of tears painted in shades of grey.
Once again Nre has entwined the sweepingly majestic with agonizing intimacy to create the stunning sound of And Now The Owls Are Smiling and as last year’s powerful offering, The Comforting Grip Of Misery (2019), took great strides beyond debut release Desolation (2018), so Dirges towers over its predecessor in turn. The entrancing sound of songs like ‘Dirge VI: Pointlessness’ wrap you in an embrace of black thorns, their curved ebony points cruelly puncturing your skin as they comfort you. This is black metal at its most emotionally charged and magically bewitching, steeped in an atmosphere of solitude and sombre reflection. Dirges is a landmark release for And Now The Owls Are Smiling, an album that will touch the fractured hearts of the lost and alone.
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