Not an album to make a weak first impression, Chinook begins like a hailstorm slamming into the listener: stinging gusts of whirling riffs blow by, further amplified by the ice-tinged blows of biting drums. This frigid assault isn't an isolated event on Canadian black metallers SVNEATR's latest album, but like the warming wind with which it shares its name, Chinook has a thawed side as well that reveals the radiant potential of black metal. Progressive experimentation and decidedly non-progressive, blunt heavy metal riffing both serve to reinforce the might and scope of SVNEATR's immense new work: this is a force of nature itself.

Listen to the full album now with our exclusive premiere:

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Fully comfortable outside the realm of blast beats and rote half-pace interludes, Chinook spends lengthy periods of time operating in a realm of progressive-but-still-blackened metal that's at times maniacal and at others lethargically contemplative. Driven by a pleasantly audible rhythm section and tasteful chops, these are certainly not diversions or brief interludes. Rather, they're the obvious development of each song's trajectory—even in tracks like "The Veins of the Earth," which shifts into first-wave aggression midway through and then drops into an jazzy, isolated solo, there's never a sense of disconnection: the obliviating realms of thundering atmospheric heaviness aren't that far away. "Lavender" is perhaps the most striking example of SVNEATR's progressive side: after kicking off with a pure, hard rock hook, the song shifts into an intricate cadence that brings in clean vocals as well. Though it's a far cry from the album's opening pace, it feels entirely at home within the engulfing tempest.

Like the brilliantly-colored album art, the rhythmic motifs and swirling lead work evoke a poignant emptiness: a void that's certainly more captivating than anything else that could have filled that space. The way that SVNEATR has crafted Chinook, smartly combining classic black metal with atmospheric and progressive elements, fully captures that mystical, nearly-paradoxical beauty.

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Chinook releases on May 28th, 2021 independently through the band's Bandcamp page.