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Saxophone-infused metal must contend with the garish abrasion of brass's warm sexuality against the colder, edgier distortion possible with guitar. Generally, bands either shoot for full integration (actively utilizing saxophone throughout like Sigh) or supplemental usage (relegating saxophone to occasion like Ihsahn). Full integration can lead to excessive discord, overpowering the music whereas supplemental usage can reduce saxophone to an insignificant afterthought, spoiling its charm. Recognizing that truth is usually found in the middle, Ukrainian band White Ward's successfully finds balance on their upcoming debut full-length Futility Report.

A massive, ascending ballad, “Black Silent Piers” integrates well-timed saxophone melodies into its build-up and resolution, leaving climax duties to candid post-black metal rhythms and blast beats. The vocals blacken the mood and sets a semi-depressive tone (think sullen, but sultry), veering away from the sometimes trite "uplifting" feels of bands like Ghost Bath. A well-vetted drum performance sets the methodical but patient pace necessary to offer listeners a journey rather than just a singular sensation or experience. Intense mood plays the primary role, and “Black Silent Piers” lacks any damaging hyperbole.

This whole multi-dimensional approach is tinged with satisfying noir and eccentricity. Futility Report's tracks are immediately discernible from one another, recognizable by distinct moments of abstract expression or unusual shifts in cadence and tone. The package feels something-core in its straightforwardness, but allows intimate access to the velvety and more vulnerable emotions which surface bands can only offer in representation. As a true modern "lighters up" act, White Ward exercised the important senses of duty and restraint in locating perfect moments for saxophone to either dissolve or coagulate Futility Report’s dusky aesthetic.

Stream "Black Silent Piers" below. Futility Report releases May 12 via Debemur Morti Productions. Preorder the album here.

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