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Vargrav - Reign in Supreme Darkness

Reign in Supreme Darkness
by Martin Knap at 06 May 2019, 8:40 PM

It would be fairly easy to describe Symphonic Black Metal to a noob: wooshing guitars, shimmering synths that can soar to lofty heights, evil, raspy vocals, lyrics full of evil, mystery and magic, dramatic spoken word sections. V-Khaoz, as the man behind VARGRAV calls himself, doesn’t steer one iota from the classic Symphonic Black Metal sound of bands like LIMBONIC ART, TARTAROS, DIMMU BORGIR, and of course the biggest of them all, EMPEROR (although I consider EMPEROR to be a beast of its own that can’t be just shoehorned into one category). V-Khaoz actually has a number of solo projects, each with a different stylistic orientation, so VARGRAV might be seen as a project created specifically out of passion for the Symphonic Black Metal sound. “Reign in Supreme Darkness” is a second VARGRAV release and came out on Werewolf Records (a little caveat emptor here, you know how it is with Black Metal…).

The record has a cinematic intro that sounds like a snippet of a “Lord Of The Rings” movie soundtrack, six medium length songs and a long closing song. The catchiness of the music is undeniable, the songs have driving riffs and melodies and a spellbinding atmosphere. “The Glory of Eternal Night” (note the gloriously pompous song titles) shifts between a catchy riff backed by majestic synth harmonies and sections with a high-pitched synth melody which has an occasional chant or spoken word. The driving melodic sections in “Crowned by Demonstorms” are so catchy that it sends ripples of excitement through me every time I hear it. Unfortunately there are things that drag the album down. For one the good ideas that are there don’t have time to grow and breathe, for example the melodic part in “Crowned by Demonstorms” is repeated only one time – that just feels unsatisfying to me. Some parts feel disjointed, like the false ending in “In Streams from Great Mysteries” followed by a section with a different melody. In this case I can’t really tell if a new song started or not. The last eight minutes long song particularly suffers from this and even though there are parts that sound great, the result is underwhelming.

I really appreciate the effort that went into the making of this album: the production is really neat, it enhances the evil vibes beautifully. There are many great moments, but as I’ve said above, it unfortunately doesn’t necessarily translate into memorable songs. The atmosphere and majestic pathos will suck you in for sure – how rewarding repeated listens will be is another matter.

Songwriting: 5
Memorability: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Intro – Et in Profundis Mysteriis Operta
2. The Glory of Eternal Night
3. Dark Space Dominion
4. In Streams from Great Mysteries
5. As the Shadows Grow Silent
6. Crowned by Demonstorms
7. Godless Pandemonium
8. Arcane Stargazer

V-Khaoz – All instruments, Vocals
Record Label: Werewolf Records


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