Vardan: The Wood is My Coffin

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Vardan: The Wood is My Coffin
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Vardan: The Wood is My Coffin
Black Metal
Moribund Records
January 21st, 2014
Release length: 38:58
The solo Black Metal landscape is only continuing to grow, and one of the most infamous entries to it is the man named Vardan. Known for his presence in Anwech, Leaden, and formerly of Tomhet, this man put together his own solo project together in 1997, but didn’t release the first demo Hidden in a Tomb until 2004, which was expanded on in 2007 with the debut album of the same name through Folter Records, and a split release in 2010 with Striborg. Starting in 2012, it’s been one recording after another, issuing four more releases in two years, three of which in the same year. Now, it’s 2014, and Vardan presents his sixth full-length Depressive Suicidal Black Metal offering The Wood is My Coffin, which has been picked up by Moribund Records. Is it another example of what makes this musician a legend in the field, or is it far from one of his more impressive ventures?

The Wood is My Coffin may find a strong buzz on the guitars that actually gives the crisp production quality a bit of a hazy feeling, but the overall sound still comes off rather deep, catering to the often bleak and hopeless performances throughout the five songs. “Night of the Horned Rebirth” is a slower track that limps along with haunting leads that are just miserable. The raspy vocals seem a bit distant, but present a consistent, if not slightly restricted performance that matches the atmosphere, especially around four minutes where the guitar solo shows that signature Italian Black Metal influence quite well, changing much of the last half to be more remorseful than hopeless. This is easily the best the album has to offer, but not the last one of quality.

“Goatcraft” is a nice mixture of aggressive hostility and depression. Much of the track has some faster complexity to the guitars that assert a vile hatred, finding areas that are a bit thin but manage to set a good deal of tension before letting the drums hammer away at you once more with pulse pounding precision. The slower bits are a bit more empty, but manage to set a moving hint of sorrow, but around five minutes the listener is greeted with the icy grip of total desolation. Meanwhile “Luciferian Assault” offers a different experience all together. The song itself has the signature depressing riffs at a faster pace, but its the equally quick drums that stand out. The performance is heavy on the bass kicks, which gives off an upbeat sound at times. The music thins out a bit by the two minute mark, giving way to some catchy melodic despair that not only buries the vocals more, but is also impossible to not move your head along to.

Finally there’s the two part conclusion, and it’s less enjoyable than you would expect after first three songs have passed. “Dawn of the Followers Part One” tries to be creepy and unnerving in the mid-paced guitar work, but the simpler drumming and louder, even more basic bass just dulls the impact horribly. The last half picks up a little to become catchy, ushering in a little extra focus on the bass kicks before caving to deeper buzzing before slowly coming to its end. “Dawn of the Followers Part Two” lashes out like “Luciferian Assault” in pace. The song has a venomous atmosphere most of the time, even during the dismal, oppressive slower sections, but again the leads end up incredibly simple, leaving behind an offering with furious potential that seems squandered by unwarranted restraint.

For the most part, The Wood is My Coffin is a great example of Depressive Suicide Black Metal done right. The main issue with this fantastically grim and helpless recording is the two part “Dawn of the Followers,” which exhibits the problem with simplicity and restraint within this field. Other than that, the first three songs will have fans of the style wrapped in a depressing blanket of headbanging sorrow. Vardan kicks off 2014 the right way, and if 2013 is any indication, The Wood is My Coffin won’t be the only time we hear from him this year.

01. Night of the Horned Rebirth – 8:05
02. Luciferian Assault – 6:59
03. Goatcraft – 8:50
04. Dawn of the Followers Part I – 8:44
05. Dawn of the Followers Part II – 6:20
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Vardan
Vardan

Digital review copy of this release provided by Moribund Records.