Moribund Records: Vardan + Apostolum


Moribund Records LogoReviews by Jason Guest

With a few releases from Moribund Records reviewed recently on MR (here), we have another two releases from bands both from Italy, the first from that master of misery, Vardan, and the second from dark metal horde Apostolum. You can find out more about the label on their website, on Facebook, or by taking a peek at their YouTube page. In the meantime, onward, into misery…

Vardan – The Wood Is My Coffin

With his last album, …Dreaming …Living My Funeral released in June 2013 (Ed: reviewed here), Vardan is back with album number six (and second with Moribund), The Wood Is My Coffin. Whereas the sound of …Dreaming was brighter (i.e., the treble was cranked), here the sound is darker, gloomier even, and the music feels as if it has more space to breathe. With subtle and stirring melodies cast across the murky, melancholic, and miserable vista, Vardan’s agonised shrieks cloud the album’s blackened skies and drag us deep into his blackened and seething miasma. While the first three tracks plot similar arcs, the dynamics are balanced well and each track provides a harrowingly meditative experience, but it’s the two part ‘Dawn Of The Followers’ where Vardan’s achievements lie. With the occasional faint glimmer of light amid waves of ferocity and futility, the two tracks work well independently but better together. Delightfully desolate, like its predecessor, its whole may not be as good as some of its parts but still makes for a chillingly daunting experience.

Vardan - The Woods Is My Coffin7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Night Of The Horned Rebirth
  2. Luciferian Assault
  3. Goatcraft
  4. Dawn Of The Followers Part I
  5. Dawn Of The Followers Part II

Apostolum – Winds Of Disillusion

Italian dark metal horde Apostolum’s last release, Anedonia, appeared in 2006. While musically and lyrically an interesting work, Meba’s vocals were an atrocity (check ‘Anxiety Attack’ as a case in point) and perhaps goes some way towards explaining why it’s taken them so long to release anything since then. Opening with the enchanting ‘Intro (Light Into The Void)’, Winds Of Disillusion promises much but ‘Unworthiness And Decay’, a track that is black at its core and coloured with some interesting instrumentation, doesn’t fulfil the ambition behind it. At ten minutes, the track plots a dynamic trajectory that, thanks to the processed, cold, and soulless performance, doesn’t achieve what the band perhaps wanted it to. At almost eleven minutes, ‘Higher Planes Of Existence’ tries to do too much but again falls foul of the band’s ambition, the piano and acoustic passages feeling too rigid to be truly convincing. And though Meba’s vocals are much improved, there’s still the clash between the lo-fi – and lacklustre execution of – the blackened aspects and the stiff piano and coldly precise orchestration. While ‘Debris Of Perception’ goes some way towards providing something intriguing, it’s with ‘Less Than A Step’ and the eighteen-minute epic closing track ‘Gleam Of Lucidity’ where the band’s ambition approaches realisation. Were it not for these two tracks, Winds Of Disillusion – and perhaps Apostolum – would have been easy to forget. Let’s hope that next time they get it right… and perhaps don’t take quite as long to release it.

Apostolum - Winds of Disillusion5.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Intro (Light Into The Void)
  2. Unworthiness And Decay
  3. Higher Planes Of Existence
  4. Debris Of Perception
  5. Less Than A Step
  6. Gleam Of Lucidity