2018 has brought me many pleasant surprises, perhaps most of all a high number of incredible full-length debut albums. Until the recent release of several incredible debut albums under the sadly soon to be defunct Fallen Empire records, I was certain that Self-Annihilating Consciousness was going to be my sleeper debut metal album of the year, but this does not change the fact that Eigenlicht has released an absolute gem here. It is rare that a band can write four songs that are each in excess of 10 minutes and make it so that each track is consistently compelling and highly varied, yet that is what has happened here. While this could easily be described as atmospheric black metal, this is so much more than that, with each song representing a sonic journey through a different landscape that will take you through sorrowful valleys and triumphant peaks. These are all skilled musicians, but what impressed me the most was the interplay between the two guitarists, who create hypnotic melodies with ease and engage in a delicate dance throughout the entire album. The keyboards are used very tastefully and are never overbearing, and I applaud the drummer for exercising restraint, for when he does unleash torrents of blasting, they are all the more effective. This is a fantastic album, but Hagia Sophia must stand as one of the best metal songs of 2018. It is a slow burner, but once it exploded (you will know to when it happens), it is utter aural bliss. Buy or die!
Favorite track: Hagia Sophia.