Veteran composer and musician Krigeist, with past activities in both the UK and New Zealand, is currently based out of Serbia in Europe. His project Bròn has been in development there since at least 2014, and according to the metal encyclopedia he has released 6 full length albums under this moniker (although his label states one less). “Pred Dverima Noći” is the most recent production by Bròn, and was released through Swedish label Nordvis at the tail end of 2020.
Black metal is the name of the game for this artist, although newcomers to Bròn may be lulled into a false sense of relaxation by the atmospheric laden, softer keyboards dominated opening to this album. That bit is an ongoing feature on this album though, with two longer passages exploring an atmospheric laden and often ambient oriented landscape in each of the three epic length creations here. These sections don’t disappear, but as guitars, rhythms and vocals kick in they are given a more distant, overlaying placement in the mix, providing a subtle contrast and borderline inaudible nuance to the strict metal based sections. A combination that works really well, also because there are quite a few other subtle elements brought in to play here.
The metal sections alternates between tight, hard wall of sound style constructions with intense rhythms, dampened hard guitars and frayed shouted downmixed vocals and more open, slower paced sections where instrument details are given more room to shine, distract and provide more defined variations on the soundscapes. Impact riffs and rhythms, more audible melodic and even harmonic guitar and keyboard features are given more room in these slower passages, and the drummer is given space to be a tad more expressive as well. In the tighter sections the variations are more nuanced and hard to grasp, but often surprisingly effective nonetheless. The almost inaudible backing vocal effects in the earlier phase of ‘Usnulu Zlobu Razbudi’ a pretty good example of that.
As with other more contemporary black metal artists I have encountered, Bròn isn’t an artist that will appeal to those with a desire for open, dynamic and expressive creations with easily discernible elements and clear dominant and supportive instruments and strong contrasting features. This is about energy and intensity, subtle and careful and almost inaudible variations, with some instances of more open and easier to grasp interludes along the way. Plus, in this case, some breaks from the at times pummeling landscapes with mournful, softer ambient sections.
Material like this can often be too one-dimensional, especially if proper care isn’t taken to include enough minor variations or if the mix doesn’t balance the elements just right. In this case I find that both of these are in place, and that enough variation is added to the development of the compositions themselves to maintain tension and interest quite nicely indeed. An album that deserves a listen by those with a taste for good quality, bleak and energetic black metal – with a taste for atmospheric laden interludes.
My rating: 80/100