Atmospheric black metal act, And Now the Owls Are Smiling return from the darkness with ‘Epitaph’. The fourth and final album from Nre, the artist behind the truly special project. This final offering is made on September 2nd, 2022 via Clobber Records.
How bitter sweet is this? A new And Now the Owls Are Smiling record that also happens to be the last. Let tears be shed but not through sadness. Let tears be shed through celebration. The celebration that is And Now the Owls Are Smiling and this album, Epitaph.
As momentously miserable, as deviously dark, as beautifully blackened and as astoundingly atmospheric as always. Epitaph is the perfect goodbye for And Now the Owls Are Smiling. A tome of gargantuan proportions, the way in which Nre goes from raw, blistering and harsh black metal to tearjerking and heart-breaking ambience and atmosphere never ceases to amaze. It’s what has made And Now the Owls Are Smiling such a beloved act to date.
Yet, somehow, Epitaph is even more emotional than anything heard to date from And Now the Owls Are Smiling. Maybe it’s the finale aspect or maybe it’s just such an incredibly deep listen, you can’t help but wallow in the blissful misery.
Every track, every bit of detail, every twist and turn, every eruption of chaos, every melodic change, every single moment of this album enthrals. There’s no point telling you what track to check out, or which hits harder, they’re all as powerful as each other. This is not an album where you pick and choose. You press play from the start and immerse yourself in it. Length doesn’t matter as time freezes.
Such power, such breath-taking power.
It’s always hard to recommend this kind of music to those who turn their nose up at the notion of ‘feeling’ in their metal. Yet, if there is one example of how perfectly balanced the chilling and harsh sound of winter heaviness and expressively warm melodies that And Now the Owls Are Smiling deliver, it is Epitaph.
And Now the Owls Are Smiling will be missed but what a way to bow out.
And Now the Owls Are Smiling – Epitaph Full Track Listing:
1. Every Day Another Piece of Me Is Removed
2. Monochrome Visions of What Life Used to Be
3. In Darkness, Light Candles So the Demons Can Find Me
4. Winter’s Elegy Part II
5. The Miserable Grip of Comfort
6. There Is No Laughter Here
7. L’appel Du Vide
8. Street Spirit (Fade Out) (Radiohead Cover)
And Now The Owls Are Smiling - Epitaph (Clobber Records)
The Final Score - 9.5/10