Sivyj Yar – The Dawns Were Drifting As Before

a4219715245_10Hey! Glad you could make it. I hope the rain wasn’t too bad on the drive over. Could I get you some coffee? No? How about some obscure one-man slavonic heathen meta- Wait! Come back! It’s better than it sounds, and the doors are locked anyway. Sit down, have a jar of kvass and we can talk it over. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this one.

Sivyj Yar is, as I was saying, a little known one man band from Russia. Vladimir, the individual behind the project, started it back in 2006 as a more traditional exploration of cold, far northern black metal. It was fairly solid but unremarkable stuff, but since then Vladimir has been slowly shifting to a more introspective, melancholy, folksy sound. I realize that sounds like a description for about every other band east of Poland, but this isn’t a meandering (completely lost) Drudkh clone or a raucous (drunk and stupid) Temnozor hanger on. Sivyj Yar has more to it than that, and his latest album, The Dawns Were Drifting As Before, is an extremely fresh take on slavic metal.

Vladimir seems to have channeled his more wrathful tendencies into Jassa, his other band, allowing The Dawns Were Drifting As Before to focus on more sorrowful emotions and atmospheres.  If you’ll allow me a tired metaphor: it’s cold in the sense of a bone chilling rain, rather than a blast of a frigid blizzard. That’s not to say the album is lacking in dynamics, in fact, it’s quite active and even aggressive at times. Drudkh/Primordial style folksy riffs (sometimes clean, sometimes distorted) interweave and trade space with soaring tremolo harmonies, heavy metal-tinged hooks, and even solos that find a good balance between manic shredding and chest swelling soulfulness. Almost every riff and melody feels well thought out, original, and almost guaranteed to plant itself in your brain immediately. The vocals are a distinctive throaty howl, though there are a few moments of clean singing covered with a bizarrely distant and echoed production. And the bass. You have to hear the bass. It’s gloriously loud but clean, always providing a compelling counterpoint to the guitars and adding just one more layer of depth to this already rich album.

Everything is put together so lavishly well that it’s more than a little ridiculous that hardly anyone has noticed this yet. The songs constantly turn and evolve, never growing tiresome or repetitive, and the atmosphere is grandly mournful and rain soaked, with just enough uplifting moments to prevent it from getting stale or waterlogged. All I could really ask for at this point is for the next Sivyj Yar album to be twice as long, because half of an hour really isn’t enough for material this strong. -Jake

Those Opposed Records

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~ by jakemoran on July 3, 2013.

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