Blast beats to melancholy drumming, tremolo picking to soft folk guitar—top it off with poetic lyrics in different languages growled, sung, and spoken, wrap it all up in a beautifully illustrated package and you get That Same Evergreen I Love So Well, Despite the Way Its Shadows Make Me Sad. The talented NYC duo Duende en la Penumbra brings plenty to the table in this debut album. Their unique blend of genres (black metal, folk, progressive metal, electronic, to name a few) and blend of languages (English, French, Spanish) create something intriguing and ever-changing.
The album opens atmospherically with the soft strumming of a guitar and the sound of flies swarming, bringing listeners to the forest. The opening track, “Ventoux,” then quickly switches gears by bringing in electronic static, synths, and soothing vocals—immediately showing some of the range of this new band. The following piece, “Metodoinaja,” is my favorite from the album and one of the band’s early released tracks. It starts booming, with a catchy toe-tapping melody filled with guitar and cymbal-heavy drums. Harsh vocals are brought in and sprinkled throughout. It also features progressive rock guitar that impresses and delights. There’s plenty of rise and fall to That Same Evergreen I Love So Well, Despite the Way Its Shadows Make Me Sad to keep listeners hooked and never feeling stagnant. The variety of instrumentation, vocals, and techniques pulled from various genres into this one album by just two musicians is nothing short of extraordinary. The album is well crafted, flowing smoothly, with every piece blending beautifully like the melting pot of the city Duende en la Penumbra hails from.
The duo is inspired by literature which is shown in the elegiac album title alone. That Same Evergreen I Love So Well, Despite the Way Its Shadows Make Me Sad features some spoken word reciting visual poetry. Track “Ventux,” a slower arrangement starting peacefully, includes the words “In a never-ending forest, a woman appears as a guardian of the trees…” This spoken word section is immediately followed by some screams of agony reminiscent of Ghost Bath while the composition slowly turns more electronic and harsher before returning to the peaceful guitar and synths.
This young and ambitious band has a world of potential and came onto the scene with a skillful album strong enough to turn heads and develop a strong fan base. I’m excited to see Duende en la Penumbra further develop and perfect their craft. I look forward to more releases from this up and coming dynamic duo in the future.