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Vananidr - Road North

Vananidr
Road North
by Wind Of The Night Forests at 09 July 2019, 7:15 PM

VANANIDR is a one man band by Anders Eriksson that sprung out of the ashes of the black metal band HYDRA, which was active from 1995 to 2012 (Anders played as “Flame” in HYDRA). Since they split up, Anders has been creating his take on black metal fused with melodies from Swedish folk music. Starting in 2018, VANANIDR released a same-titled full-length in that year followed by “Road North” dropped on the last day of May 2019.

The intro track, “Cold Dead Skin”, starts the album with a pessimistic theme and as its title suggests, it’s about salvation through death. The second track shows you the way to death: Melancholy March. The lyrics are memorable in this track and the album title “Road North” is assumed as the honourable road to death for the man. “Bleak and Desolate” continues the deadly journey to North. There are elements borrowed from death metal heard in this track and there are a few grammatical errors and misspells, which I suppose happened because these guys’ first language is not English. Keeping in mind that I wouldn’t choose any of the first tracks of the album as my favourite, seeing these errors was a big bummer for me. However, the next tracks are so good they compensate everything.

The album gets more interesting right after the start of “Drowned in Hells Fire”. Although the lyrics are still about the same topic (death) and not much different from the rest of the album, you can hear sweet melodies from the third minute that make the song interesting. In “Raining Fire”, the drums describe the title precisely: raining fire. At 2:24, we hear some beautiful riffs accompanied by perfect growls. This goes on until around 4:00, making this track memorable. The guitar work is excellent, the bass line could be better but assuming this is a melodic black metal album and more about guitars, the bass work is also decent.

“Plains of Desolation” starts with one of the most memorable melodies. A headbanger all way through 2:00. The melody then develops and similar melodies are derived. I love this song! Added to last.fm loved tracks. “Shadow of the Past” has an aggressive intro combined with ferocious screams. The lyrics are dark and real. They tell you the truth of one’s life. The music might not be as memorable as Raining Fire or Pains of Desolation, but the lyrics are deep and beautiful.

“A spell was cast at birth
A spell of pain and despair
To live a life in shadows
Condemned to fear and misery

The spell is now a shadow of the past
A shadow of the past
Life is now a shadow of the past”


In the last minute of “Beneath the Glimmering Surface” I hear a delicious melody that melts down my heart. It is a sweet short part at the end of the song which makes me want to play it again and wait for that part. “Introduction to Ancient Powers” is not included in the Bandcamp version of the album but can be seen in the tracklist on Metal-Archives. It seems that on Bandcamp they have combined this filler track with the next track, “Ancient Powers”, which is about the call of such powers to you to die and cleanse the world in flames.

The last track, “Purgatory”, is a six and half minute ambient instrumental track which describes its title properly and is the best way to finish an album like this. After all, each and every track here is about death. If I was to give this album a title, I’d go for “Songs of Death, Hate, and Fire” as these are mainly the subjects of all the tracks. I personally prefer some deeper lyrics but who am I to complain? The music is good, classic melodic black metal to keep me satisfied.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Cold Dead Skin
2. Melancholy March
3. Bleak and Desolate
4. Drowned in Hells Fire
5. Raining Fire
6. Plains of Desolation
7. Shadow of the Past
8. Beneath the Glimmering Surface
9. Introduction to Ancient Powers
10. Ancient Powers
11. Purgatory
Lineup:
Anders Eriksson - Everything
Record Label: Purity Through Fire
     


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