As confusing as it may seem, Ayr are an atmospheric black metal band from the humidity of North Carolina, named after a popular seaside town in Scotland and whose latest album ‘The Dark’ has a cover that appears to have been taken in the French Alps (or similar). They have also, apparently, been on hiatus for the last 8 years although, given the above, it could be that they just got lost for a bit.
Having said all that, this latest record, their first full-length offering, is a startlingly good and absorbingly spacious experience donating both exquisite moments of melancholy as well as mammoth sections of heaviness. The version of black metal that they build is far more stripped back and icy than some of their possible counterparts. For me, this is a very much rawer version of Winterfylleth yet the similarities are more than apparent in opener ‘Origins In Descent’ and the downright majesty of ‘Where All Light Dies’.
One of the most vital elements for me in this sub-genre are the vocals and the Ayr duo do not disappoint through the rasp and deep sorrow-clouded cries that run the length of this record. This won’t turn heads as a step away from those well-trodden mountain paths – but it does stand for the harder climb, the one less travelled and the one where you’re more likely to fall off.