EIKENSKADEN  There Is No Light At The End Of The Tunnel  CD   (Blackmetal.com)   11.98

The one man French black metal entity Eikenskaden returns with it's most recent full length,serving up eight tracks of sweeping 'Romantic Black Metal"""", a style that Eikenskaden mastermind Stefan Kozak has pioneered both here and with his Mystic Forest project. I don't know if you could call this a genre as Kozak is (to the best of my limited knowledge) the only person working with this fusion of raw, Burzumic black metal and neo-classical melody, but it's certainly original. Over the course of four albums (including 2001's The Black Laments Symphony on Chanteloup Creations, 2003's The Last Dance on Sacral Productions, and 2004's 665.999 on tUMULt), Eikenskaden has melded an intense and harsh buzzing BM assault to baroque melancholy melodies that seem to be inspired by the likes of Chopin and Debussy, with a wonderful low-fi production lapping at the edges of the songs with crackling, gauzy distortion and hiss. Totally beautiful and catchy, with an atmosphere that you could almost describe as nostalgic, especially with songs like 'Eternity is Not Product By Time', which has one of Kozak's finest melodies ever, but blown out and distorted and grandiose, almost like a classical Xasthur, with subtle shades of pop majesty appearing through the grit and buzz. Highly recommended particularly to those of you that share my affinity for twisted French black metal, this disc comes in a full color package with 12 page booklet that features all of the lyrics.