Can an album be generic without being generic? Or rather, can an album simultaneously be nothing more than pretty good, while containing elements of an absolute classic for it’s genre? On the surface, Insane Vesper’s Layil is much like any other modern black metal for it’s time, albeit a decent album in that category. It has all of what you want in a black metal album, however with added aspects that draw the listener in on closer inspection. Some of the drumming patterns sound more like they belong on a post-rock or math rock album, and there’s dissonant, sinister riffs that honestly are part of one of the better attempts at dissonance in black metal that I’ve heard. As well, you got some seemingly random (though not necessarily ineffective) moments of mathy chugging that sounds more like it belongs in a djent album sans guitar tone. However for the most part, this is just decoration that rises a 5/10 record to maybe a high 6/10. Except for a few, very special moments. The very opening of the album on Blood of the Moon opens in a seemingly standard way for a few seconds, only to break apart into a groovy baseline and space rock guitar effects. You then suddenly get this soaring, atmospheric euphoria enveloping your ears that makes you think “hot damn, this is gonna be my fucking jam”. Then silence. The guitar comes back in and there’s this mini buildup with the drums slamming away at increasing fervor, climaxing into these dissonant riffs of purely evil modern black metal. And I’m like “holy fuck how can I get better than this?”. Good question, and the answer is it can’t, because it doesn’t. There are 2 other times during the record (on Sink The Ark of Knowledge and Scorned Ascension) where the music breaks into this dark, post-rock like, 1-2 minute sagas, only to return to whatever the fuck they were doing before, or on the case of Scorned Ascension, just end the track with no resolution. But overall none of what is great about this album is built upon into something more.
Layil is a record that has all the tools to become an all time classic, but never uses them to be anything more than just interesting, or at it’s worst/best, a massive fucking cock-tease.