Released: 2015, Morbidund Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Solo black metaller VARDAN’S 21st release in a back catalogue only 11 years old comes ridiculously fast. As eighth LP of the year for this Italian, it’s amazing how inspired VARDAN must be, also the song title choices of Roman numerals are probably not the best exhibits of this. Coming only a month after fellow Morbidund Records release Between the Fog and Shadows, From the Pale Moonlight is a vast, progressive and eclectic expansion of such the artist’s already clustered catalogue, spanning only three tracks yet a fair 39 minutes in length.
For those unfamiliar with VARDAN, this album carries all the Burzumic traditions expected from a one man outfit. The guitars are fuzzy, the drums are punchy and the vocals are mandatorily inaudible. The range of instrumentation, from arpeggiated guitar work to primitive synth sounds, is used to create an apparent aural reflection of the cover art, with howls casting thick mist through the branches of chords that hold high above the stable foundations of solid, consistent drum beats. Although not the most original, VARDAN’s sound here is exceptionally emotive, from the first note to the last dying sounds.
Progressive influences project this band out from all the traditional trappings of this extreme metal niche, with bursts of energy making the melancholic moments only more memorable and deserving, whilst all instruments work in homophony or polyphony to create a fusion of atmospheres, from cold harsh blasts to more evocative and warming sentiments. Improvisatory moments give the record a ripple of movements and organic earnestness that so many acts of this ilk seldom hold. This isn’t a work of genius, and stellar moments aren’t commonplace here, rather this is a consistent journey, guaranteed to hold your attention and imagination, yet let go at the end three tracks.
It’s a good job then, that closer, “III”, is a highlight track. Taking a more momentous feel, it is an obvious closer, with rushes of energy that do not blare through your speakers, but instead have a poignancy which makes them delightful to end with. There is very little to fault here, VARDAN has miraculously continued to pull out consistently credible compositions out the bag once again. Recommended for all genre enthusiasts.
Review by Jarod Lawley