The despicable amount of releases continue from one man Sicilian workhorse Vardan and this is his third so far this year. Personally I thought he was going to aim for one a month but with the release date of this being 28th April he is running off target and better pull his socks up! Seriously though it’s hard enough for the reviewer to keep things fresh let alone the musician and Vardan has so far managed to do so (albeit fresh in a rotting way) so I am going to do my best to continue as well. Musically these 5 tracks each simply entitled again by Roman numeral quickly drenched me in their moribund (sorry) atmosphere and put me in that cold uncomfortable place that the artist is so adroit at sending me to.
The mix is thick and strident with the opening thorny guitar sound instantly shrilly flowing out the speaker and cutting away at the skin. Wretched shrieks follow and the air of misanthropy and misery are combined perfectly along with a richly flowing repetitive melody. One thing noticeable this time around is how some of the more acoustic guitar notes are projected high in the mix, way above the underlying waspy fuzzy parts and this really works well. Drums keep the beat and this is slow and morose with plenty of time allowed to expand upon and develop. The unrushed nature of it all projects a sense of misery and abandonment perfectly and as ever this is hugely rich in atmosphere and all so easy to lose yourself in. I would kind of love to know exactly what he is singing, no matter what language it is in it sounds totally alien and after listening to a track I get a sore throat just hearing him. The pitch behind it all changes as things move into the second part and the drumming picks up pace a little making things a touch more upbeat and then powering away and coasting off on a jubilant surge that’s nowhere near as depressive. As it slows down some of the guitars remind a bit of early Cure as well as Lifelover a little too, it’s certainly not all a case of a one man black metal artist going down the tried and tested Burzum route. Those elongated and frontal guitar tones really make their appearance again on the third part and as they echo away along with the vocals it’s a really odd effect, matching well with the dismal air of the album’s shortest piece.
From there it’s on to the longest at close to 12 minutes in length. It’s got quite a punchy feel to it with lots of noise and things going on, melody is naturally at the forefront though enforced by a central spiralling guitar riff and the vocals come thick and venomously. Having been quick to hit its stride this one coasts along in a really fluid and natural way and does so without becoming stale in the slightest more than worthy of its long running time and showcasing some very good song writing skill. I would write in detail but the sun has come out and Vardan has injected enough blackness into my life for one year as it is and it’s time to go out and skip joyously in the warm and greet everyone with a smile on my face.
Bollocks to that I would rather just sit here and wait for the next album to arrive.
(8/10 Pete Woods)