Dissvarth’s starry-eyed debut is the latest from Australia’s extreme metal creative force Dis Pater also known for Midnight Odyssey. In his other projects, Pater manages to blend his unique mix of black metal, funeral doom and keyboard-soaked ideas into boundless and gently unpredictable soundscapes. This time round he’s dropped the black metal and doom and instead embarked on a vocal and synth-driven cosmic trip while still managing to incorporate much of what makes his work so magnetic. Between The Light And The Moon is drenched in melancholic pageantry and dark, new romantic charm and serves as a nice, lingering musical corona to last year’s titanic Midnight Odyssey release Shards of Silver Fade.
Dissvarth – the name a combination of his and collaborator Svarthen (the Slovak musician who also worked on Dis Pater’s Midnight Odyssey as well as other bands such as Aeon Winds) is a darkly ambient project that sees the pair branching out, with Pater clearly on a creative roll – perhaps inspired by the sprawling possibilities of last year’s Shards, although equally likely bouncing back and still buzzing from that two and a half hour musical extravaganza. Between the Light And the Moon sees influences trailing off at random – classic 80s new age ambient sounds like Tangerine Dream mixed with a darker more solemn tone, driven home by Pater’s drifting vocals that owe as much to New Romantic and Dark Wave pop as anything metal.
It’s an ethereal and timeless trip. Somewhere between a star-covered solar comfort blanket and a dark purple satin funeral shroud. Neo-classical piano ebbs against some fairly lo-fi keyboard sounds but which billow into every square inch of space in tracks like Ablaze of Solar Night and some with some mighty vocal melodies. Dead Can Dance (an early 80s trailblazer for folk-inspired and experimental electronica) is a stated influence of the band but I can hear everything from Bowie (in From a Journey Comes The Forgotten) to Summoning in here (on the final track) even though the end result is that Between The Light comes across as one seamless entity that does not really owe anything to anyone other than working as a nice standalone spin-off from Midnight Odyssey.
This will serve as a nice diversion for fans still recovering from Shards and with all the usual hooks that should get nicely under your skin if dark wave, dark ambient or gothic-driven electronica sounds like it might appeal – as well as fans of his other stuff. It’s often strange to hear this type of music without the juxtaposition of heavy, amplified guitar and perhaps that’s why I sometimes felt there was just a little something missing. Another layer of texture, perhaps. But even so, Pater manages to weave some of his weird folk magic into the firmament too which means that, when it’s all over, you might feel a little like someone has left the room and you alone in it. The well-executed chill-out for those who like to wallow in a bit of uplifting melancholy in their own spare time.
(7.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)