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Can Bardd – Devoured by the Oak Award winner

Can Bardd
Devoured by the Oak
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 15 January 2022, 11:14 AM

With the first two albums, CAN BARDD already managed to enthrall a lot of fans in the Atmospheric Black Metal community, and with “Devoured by the Oak” the band set their sights even higher. The goal was to create a perfect blend of the strengths of the first two albums ‐ the ambience, textures and atmosphere of the debut, and the composition and quality of the sophomore album, culminating in a more mature sound and a more intense experience for the listener. The album contains eight tracks.

“Echoes of the Moss” leads us off.  It opens with soft, soothing sounds and some background ambiance. A cello joins in to further the beauty, with a solemn tones. It crescendos towards the end, with a sweeping climb. “Une Couronne de Branches” opens with darker tones and some vocal chanting. A recorder joins in and the sound hits you full on, with full, rich guitars and a long scream. The pace is slow, and the combination of harsh and clean vocals works very well together. It swells and retreats a few times throughout, and each time the majestic elements are dialed up.

The title track is divided into two movements. The first is a soft and solemn piece, as gentle as a breeze on the first warm day of Spring. Clean vocals carry the sound as it floats above you and walks with you. It grows with might and power as it moves along. Harsh vocals mix in, and the song takes on a sad, melancholy feeling. Folky elements also come into play, and there is very little that this band hasn’t thought of. The second movement begins with a full Black Metal sound out of the gates. The sounds pushes forward with fervor and excitement, through the half way point, then drops to more of the charming sounds we heard in the first movement.

“Crépuscule” means “twilight.” Twilight is often that magical time of the evening when the day begins to fade away, and all of the nocturnal creatures begin to wake up in anticipation of the dark. It’s a very pretty song. The harsh vocal passages are reminiscent of the darkness that creeps in after twilight, and if you’re lucky, it will be a quite evening. The clean passages are solemn and just a little melancholy. “Spleen by the Pond” begins with quiet tones and a soft build-up; a short segue though the next track. “Autumn Shore” picks up where it leaves off, with massive drums, guitars and folky elements, filling up each and every crack with sound. It’s the final lengthy track on the album and I am beginning to wonder how Malo can keep up this intense and complicated pace. “Bloomsterkransen” closes the album; a soft and quiet closer with minimal instrumentation with clean female vocals. What a beautiful closer.

The sheer amount of instrumentation produced here is impressive, and everything works very well together. This album is everything that was advertised…a synergistic combination of everything that is wonderful about the atmosphere of Black Metal as well as a strength of composition that is hard to match. Malo mixes in symphonic and even folky elements at just the right time as well. The result is sweeping, epic compositions which tantalize your senses. The whole of the product is very well put together, especially considering the genre, which often minimizes and simplifies the sound. This is one of those albums that many Metal fans, not just Black Metal fans, will enjoy.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Echoes of the Moss
2. Une Couronne de Branches
3. Devoured by the Oak pt.I
4. Devoured by the Oak pt.II
5. Crépuscule
6. Spleen by the Pond
7. Autumn Shore
8. Blomsterkransen
Malo Civelli – Composer
Dylan Watson – Drums
Record Label: Northern Silence Productions


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