Yes, there have always been Fissures Within The Construct. Now that they have become apparent, everyone can see them, and the more time goes by, the wider they get, turning into broad cracks and large fractures.

Velnias are from Nederland, Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains and named after the god of hell and death in Baltic religion. These Colorado natives are probably able to observe nature in a grander scale than most of us and can see change taking place season to season in massive natural features that once appeared like they would endure all eternity. But they didn’t, and they won’t.

Although I know that the band didn’t have the current crisis on their minds when writing their new album Scion of Aether, the title of the opening track still conjures up a classic picture for impending, inherent and unavoidable change. False hopes, delusions, ignorance prevent us from seeing reality as it is, until we are forced to do so by events beyond our control.

Fissures Within The Construct is an instrumental and apart from a dramatic beginning with pounding blows and mighty riffs, it has a rather soft, cascading character. Folky, playful and somewhat hesitant guitar tunes are accompanied by likewise hesitant drumming, slowly getting faster. Pariah of the Infinite continues folky in the beginning, but with the introduction of deep, guttural vocals comes a faster tempo and heavier music. The second track, then, is characteristic for everything else that follows: Velnias’ music is a complexly woven web of folk, doom, post-rock and black metal. The press material calls it “oppressive Rocky-Mountain dirge”, the band’s trademark. The band themselves list their style as “blackened folk doom metal” on their bandcamp page. While that might be a bit too long for a genre description, it is certainly accurate.

The album spans over six tracks and fifty minutes, and if you are a fan of catchy tunes and simple song structures, this is not for you, because you will be listening for catchy tunes in vain. Nevertheless, the attentive listener will be rewarded with intricate melodies emerging from the complex web, which makes for a satisfying listening experience. You certainly won’t grow sick of this after a few listens, on the contrary, there will be more and more to discover with each new run through. The same is true for the lyrics. They can be read in their entirety on the band’s bandcamp page and have whole philosophical concepts and the physics of the universe implemented in them.

My favourite track on Scion of Aether is Supernatural Emergent, the track before last. It has a strong progressive touch, but the growly vocals pull it in a completely different direction, creating something unusual. Velnias have therefore accomplished what so many bands strive for: From a myriad of influences they have formed something of their own.

Sophisticated, brainy, philosophical, but unassuming and thus a beautiful and enjoyable listen. If that’s your thing, you will be very happy with this.

(8/10 Slavica)