Nothing is overstated, yet nothing is left wanting…
Review by Jason Guest
Release date: 20 October 2014
Russian one-man black metal band Sivyj Yar (or Сивый Яр in mainman Vladimir’s native tongue) has been making epic pagan black metal since 2006. With a demo, two EPs and three albums to his name, 2014 brings album number four, From The Dead Villages’ Darkness. A new one to these ears, after listening to this, Vladimir’s previous albums have become a necessity.
Able to conjure up the darkest of skies, the coldest of rains and the magic of a cloud-hooded dawn, there is a tenderness and a sensitivity to the music that is simultaneously melancholic and cathartic, a profound sense of yearning, of release, of freedom emerging ever stronger as it proceeds. Bookended by two brief ambient pieces to envelop the four eight- and nine-minute epic tracks, melody and melancholy are combined across the album, each track as uplifting as they are weighted with sadness, the acoustic instrumentation augmenting the impassioned soundscapes.
With lyrics based in Slavonic mythology and poetry with the leitmotif of the tragedy Russian peasantry and music that is as richly atmospheric as it is melodic and moving, this is a mesmerising piece of work, seducing the listener with its elaborate design and opulent composition. Unlike numerous one-man bands, Vladimir augments the usual tripartite of guitar/bass/drums – which he plays very well – with acoustic, wind and string instruments, his skills with each matched by a distinct knowledge of how to utilise them for the needs of the song. That this is the work of one man is astounding. Nothing is overstated, yet nothing is left wanting.
9 out of 10
- Blackened Fields Weep Afar
- Now Only Abyss Hears Us
- From The Dead Villages Darkness
- Distant Haze Was Arising
- With The Birds Farewell Song
- Silky Grasses Wilted