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Vetrar Draugurinn - The Night Sky

Vetrar Draugurinn
The Night Sky
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 13 September 2021, 2:37 AM

VETRAR DRAUGURINN is a Gothic Doom band from the Netherlands who formed in 2014.   "The Night Sky" is their second full length album. VETRAR DRAUGURINN's brand of Gothic heaviness isn't as depressing and morose as, say, DRACONIAN or MY DYING BRIDE; it has a more modern sound to it and feels more laid back. "The Night Sky" actually reminds me of THE GATHERING in some ways. This album has many enjoyable moments but unfortunately it has some unforgettable ones as well.

That isn't to say there isn't plenty of heavy doom riffs on the album. Unfortunately, some of these riffs are bland. Even worse, when the band turns off the distortion and plays clean, the songs loose purpose and interest leaves  with that purpose.  I feel like the guitar is just there as a back drop to fill up space. I don't think that is too bold of a statement because it seems obvious to me the main focal point of the album is Marjan Welman and her vocals. Don't get me wrong…Marjan's voice is great but the problem is she carries the band. Most of the time, the only reason my interest didn't wain was because of her.

A terrible singer can be saved by a great band but usually the opposite doesn't work, especially in metal. The proof is in the pudding. The one instrumental track, "The Fear Of Letting Go," is the worst song on the album. Without Marjan's vocals, the song has no substance. Doom is my favorite genre and I'm all about that buildup but absolutely nothing interesting happens in this song.The first four and a half minutes or so is just the guitars plodding along with clean notes that don't have any ear catching arrangements. The song does finally build up to a mountain of heaviness but by this time, boredom has set in and I just wanted it to end.

Remember what I said about the opposite earlier? "Our Lady Of Perpetual Emptiness" is laden with Marjan's sweet, gentle yet tightly controlled vocals. But the music? It seems more like filler than anything else. It isn't all bad though. The opening track, "The Observer" is a banger. The guitar and bass are thick and full. The double bass makes the song even more  powerful. The band stops playing at just the right intervals to let Marjan shine. The chorus is catchy too.

The next two tracks are serviceable but nothing that stands out enough to me to revisit them after this review is done. It doesn't help that "The Fear Of Letting Go" is next. So after the great opening track, some time passes before the album becomes noteworthy again. That comes in the form of "As I Drift On An Ocean Towards A Distant Shore." Aside from "The Observer," this is the only track that excited me.

Since the band seems to lack in keeping the music going when playing melodic or clean, it is a good thing this song is rather heavy for the most part. The beginning has a simple build up that gets out of its own way enough to be needed without over staying its welcome. The crunchy riffs work with the melody and the pounding drums for a stark cadence that is arranged well enough to be flow into more open spaces then pick back up again without losing any momentum.

Ultimately, "The Night Sky" isn't a bad album but it still doesn't get above average enough for me to recommend it when so many great Gothic and/or doom albums have already been released this year.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 4
Production: 6

2 Star Rating

1. The Observer
2. The Night Sky
3. Landsdown Hill
4. The Fear of Letting Go
5. The Lonely
6. Our Lady of Perpetual Emptiness
7. As I Drift on an Ocean towards a Distance Shore
8. Reynisfjara
Jim van de Kerkhof - Drums
Eric Hazebroek - Guitars
Marjan Welman - Vocals
Arjan Heijden - Bass
Thomas Cochrane - Guitars
Record Label: Dark Skies Coming


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Edited 03 February 2023

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