Premiere: Ebony Pendant
"Vampyric Bloodlust"

12/18/20 | J. Proust

<i>The Garden Of Strangling Roots</i> cover art by Gustave Doré. EP mastered by R.L.C.

The first day of the new year will mark the official unveiling of the new EP from ascendant USBM visionary Ebony Pendant. Titled The Garden of Strangling Roots, Ebony Pendant’s follow-up to their acclaimed debut full-length from earlier this year will come out on tape, vinyl and CD by Forbidden Sonority, GoatowaRex and Grim Stone Records, respectively. Ebony Pendant’s new EP will feature six all-new tracks of the Seattle-based underground wunderkind’s patented incisive-yet-melodic, raw-but-competent black metal sovereignty.

As with his previous releases, the young artist behind Ebony Pendant “wrote, recorded and mixed The Garden of Strangling Roots by [himself] at [his] home in Seattle, WA.” According to S.C., the whole process from writing to recording took him “from September to November” of this year. He explains, however, that this time around, “The drums were handled by my friend K.M., who also plays in my other project Cavurn.

Ebony Pendant promotional photo by Jordan Giblin with border art by Rusted Winds (Lucas Valtenbergs)

S.C. continues, “My inspirations going into this album were similar to when I was recording Incantation of Eschatological Mysticism, and I usually always have a clear vision in my head of the sound I want to achieve. Going into writing, I knew I wanted the outcome to be a malignant, hypnotic release, but I wanted more concise tracks for my EP to keep runtime under 30 minutes. Over the beginning of Autumn, I began structuring the riffs for this release, trying more dynamic tempos, and creating some more intense fast-paced riffs. I utilized expanded instrumentation on this new album, including my nylon string classical guitar and CASIO keyboard, and had K.M. handle the drums. What resulted is probably my most sinister sounding release yet.” He adds, “I sourced the art for the cover myself, from a book called Orlando Furioso that Gustave Doré did art for.”

Continuing to explain what inspired The Garden of Strangling Roots, S.C. tells us: “This album is equally inspired by a connectivity with nature, and the human conscience. The lyrics of the title track are written of how plants live from decomposing things in the forest. Then the roots grow and kill to grow more. This is semi-metaphorical of how disparate the wealth gap in the United States has become, with billionaires making massive profits off of millions of starving people working underpaid jobs to house themselves. The album title was chosen after the song was written, when I first found the art that would become the album cover and felt the immense synergy. However, there are of course a few songs on the EP with more mythical black metal themes, too.”

Ebony Pendant logo by S.C.

Regarding the writing and recording process for The Garden of Strangling Roots, S.C. says, “I work fast with recording and mixing when each song is written, and sometimes that runs a high risk if I'm not being attentive enough during the process to ensure a consistent result. But that wasn't the case this time, luckily. There's also a risk in enhancing the fidelity of the music from the last release to this one. Since recording Incantation of Eschatological Mysticism I try to tread the line of raw, shitty production & nice, classic production. And while the way I write stays the same, and the project’s established style is maintained, this album is less lo-fi and the mix is fuller [than on previous recordings]. Not necessarily ‘studio quality’ but I want people to be able to hear everything how I want it to be heard. I won’t make concessions on the music just because some people have said they like the demo more.”

Earlier this week the song, Ebony Pendant leaked the song “Delirium of Mortality” from the EP. According to S.C. this song “is one of the first songs [he] wrote for the EP.” He explains, “With this track, I wanted to evoke a mysterious evil that I think best represents the human psyche. It's succinct and straightforward like the tracks on my split with Kūka'ilimoku, but also still mesmeric and hypnotic like my first LP. Lyrically, it ruminates on a lot of the existential thoughts we all have, and what it means to be present in this world, questioning life’s cycle and how mankind repeats the past. The instantaneity of death at any time. What will happen after us? Thematically, the record as a whole touches on a lot of concepts, but I think this track will find people well who think about these kinds of things.”

Ebony Pendant promotional photo by Samm Willett

And today we have the privilege of our sharing with our dedicated readers another absolute slayer from Ebony Pendant’s forthcoming EP. According to S.C., the song “Vampyric Bloodlust” marks “the most furious track on this EP in [his] opinion.” He continues, “When I was first recording this one, I listened back to it and I actually decided to scrap what I had and re-record it even faster. That was definitely the right call. Also K.M. really crushed the drum performance on this whole EP, and you can really tell on this song.”

According to S.C., regarding the sundry physical incarnations of The Garden of Strangling Roots, “The EP sees a digital release January 1st, 2021. As for the physical editions, GoatowaRex will be pressing 12" vinyl, Forbidden Sonority will be pressing cassettes, and Grime Stone Records will be handling the CD format. All of these will see an early 2021 release, no dates are set at the moment though.” He goes on to say, “Forbidden Sonority are a great record label to work with—he contacted me the day I released the Sempiternal Passage… demo, offering to release tapes for me, and working with him on every release since then has been easy and smooth. He’s quick with turnaround and his details are flawless.

In closing S.C. says he wants to thank “Lucas Valtenbergs/Rusted Winds” for the border on his new promo picture, as well as “Jordan Giblin” for taking said promo photo.

S.C. adds, “Ebony Pendant LP #2 is fully written, and will be commencing recording in the coming months. I have just released a new demo for a new project I play drums in called Degraved, our demo is called Exhumed Remnants. Also check out the Towergeist debut EP on Grime Stone Records, I helped engineer vocals for it. Thank you, Call of the Night!”

Follow Ebony Pendant on Bandcamp.