When I initially researched China’s Deep Mountains, they were described as Folk/Black Metal. Having heard Tengger Cavalry, another band that is described as Folk/Black Metal, I was kind of expecting something similar. Deep Mountains isn’t even close to sounding like that. Even calling them Black Metal is a bit of a misnomer because Lake of Solace is more in the Post-Metal vein. It reminded me a lot of bands like Empyrium and some of the others that are on Prophecy Productions (Dornenreich, Finnr’s Cane). The Metal is in there somewhere, but the music is on the passive side, consisting mostly of mellow acoustic guitar passages and ambiance. I was a bit disappointed that this wasn’t somewhat darker and heavier, but Lake of Solace was still an intriguing listen. From what I understand, the members of the band really have no lineage in Metal. They’re a collective of musicians that played other forms of music prior to getting together and forming this band. From that perspective, it makes sense that this LP doesn’t follow any of the traditional Black Metal formulas or conventions. There’s some Burzum-esque minimalism present when the electric guitars kick in, and some raspy wails for vocals, but for the most part Deep Mountains isn’t a band that dwells firmly in the realms of Metal. Suffice to say that they’re occasional visitors, but they don’t stay long. Whether that lack of Metal foundation in their music is important or not is pretty subjective. I’m not a purist, so seeing a band take Neo-Folk and adding Metal influences to it doesn’t offend my sensibilities in the least. In fact, I think this album might have been somewhat boring had they not added the Metal parts into it. If you’re a Metal fan looking for something different and more experimental, Deep Mountains is an unusual band and Lake of Solace is a very interesting listening experience.
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