I should have guessed that musicaholic Vaarwel was going to slip another release in before the year was out. He has been pretty prolific in 2013 with one other album an EP and a split with Petrychor. All have been gratefully received by us and I am personally waiting for it to snow so I can immerse myself in the excellent Trollvinter again.
You never know quite what you are going to get from a Frozen Ocean release as Vaarwel works within different themes and textures to his music. There were a few clues to be found here before play was pressed. Firstly the cover artwork is incredibly dark and it depicts a mighty forest brooding in the distance. Then on the back there is a statement dedicating the album to Fenriz and Nocturno Culto so I was pretty certain this was going to be a continuation of themes explored on Likegyldig Raseri and Vanviddsanger, culminating his Norse trilogy.
The album title translates here to Night Over Me was apparently recorded and composed “in the midst of night woods” back in 2011 and had received some interest from Moribund Records who then cut off communications with Vaarwel leaving it languishing on a shelf until now. This 34 minute album is divided into 16 segments and in the true tradition of artists such as Taake simply named after the album title. The main theme and sound here is a chugging and crusty primitive blackened punky bounce that enthusiastically springs around in a simplistic yet infectious and enjoyable fashion. Thankfully it is pretty accessible unlike peers such as Ildjarn and the production is suitably powerful with nice definition of sound pulling out things like the clashing cymbal sound and the heavy gnarly bass tones.
It is not totally one dimensional though and does deliver a few surprises such as part III which is a doomy slower ballad etched paean to the night; well that’s how I have interpreted it. The hungry feral vocals really come through on this one to and are particularly noticeable as many of the segments on the album are purely instrumental. There’s an eerie and ethereal break from the bounce put into play for part VI but at just over a half a minute it kind of has a hallucinatory “did I just hear that” feel about it as the pogo raw mainframe springs back into action. Far more defined but equally odd is the nekromantik sounding piano waltz of track IX. It’s more than a ‘what the fuck’ moment and is both bizarre and eccentric and the reasons behind it are unless I ask (and I’m not sure I want to) going to be one of life’s great mysteries.
Well it seems like Vaarwel has certainly completed with what he set out to do with this trilogy unless of course he decides to do a George Romero and expand upon it. If you are looking for some Norske Svart Metall done in an authentic fashion by a Russian you need look no further and naturally he has made it available to listen to at the link below. Rounding off 2013 nicely it would seem that we are back off in search of space next with electronic ambient, dark metal release ‘The Dyson Swarm.’ I can’t wait to enter that cosmos.
(7/10 Pete Woods)