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Vardan - Winter Woods

Winter Woods
by Matt "Wolverine" Johnson at 09 August 2015, 11:24 PM

The sad procession of souls trudges mournfully through the cold depths of their journey. Amorphous, dark figures who reflect no visible light stretch in a line that goes beyond the horizon in both directions. This is the appropriate visual for Black Metal aficionado VARDAN's new album "Winter Woods." The absolute absence of light, eternal and complete envelops the mind of the listener as the bleakness of despair sets in.
This is seriously raw Black Metal, and seems intended to be such. "Winter Woods Pt. 1" is a slow, threnodic dirge, opening up the album and setting the tone that this is what shall also follow for the rest of the five-song collection. There is a scream at the beginning of the song that is as chilling as the title suggests. What comes after is a hollow, recessed batch of lyrics whose words are indistinguishable. The guitar tracks are nothing thrilling, if not depressing. There is also a transition from distortion for most of the song to clean guitar, emphasizing the stark reality that Black Metal is famous for.
"Winter Woods Pt. 2" is a re-interpretation of the first song, using the same general riff, just with different effects on guitar. The tempo is steady and slow, keeping with the tone of its predecessor, albeit a little softer version. "Oroborus Black Circle" is a bit longer than the previous two songs and opens up with a ringing chorus of solo guitar notes, fading in and raising the volume for the blast of distortion that comes at the forty-second mark. This song is also a bit more upbeat, but the sadness that resonates in the music denies me any enjoyment or happiness.

"Cold Night of My Soul" is longer still than the previous three songs, emanating as a sort-of tribute to the longsuffering of the title's namesake. The agony of the soul's destruction is almost tangible and reaches its ghostly grasp deep into the mind, blotting out any memories of sunlight or smiles. Which brings up the last song, "The Cry of Dying Forests." It is indeed appropriately titled, as it is fitting for a funeral of the masses. It is the longest song on the album, and eliminates any hope of hearing some kind of clean vocals, as well as lyrics that can be understood, as VARDAN uses a strange echoing effect, seemingly to amplify the desolate vastness of a deserted landscape. This song serves as a mode of crushing the last bit of air from the earth and the last inkling of hope that will ever exist, ending with a traditional Black Metal tempo, blasting away everything in sight with pure destructive power.

Despite being not exactly groundbreaking material, the style is consistent throughout the album. Though not a fan of the genre in particular, it follows perfectly in line with the elements that dictate what a good Black Metal band should sound like. Hail to VARDAN for creating such intense music as a solo project!

3 Star Rating

1. Winter Woods - Pt. 1
2. Winter Woods Pt. 2
3. Uroborus Black Circle
4. Cold Night of My Soul
5. The Cry of Dying Forests
Vardan - All Instruments, Vocals
Record Label: Moribund Cult Records


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Edited 02 February 2023

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