Aurvandil - Yearning
It's not the heat it's the humidity. Sometimes what makes for heaviness is not raging full-on pummeling, but atmosphere. Aurvandil are heavy on the oppressive side, helping you reach for the razor blade not with bombast but with despairing resignation. Not that there isn't volume and pummeling on "Yearning," but the real meat of this self-described one-man "pagan black metal" band from France is its muddy, doomed soul.
The haunting gloom of the acoustic title track, and its use behind the slowly building rage of "Reign of Ice" is visceral. Acoustic guitars serve as powerful intros to all the best tracks, especially "Walking-Interlude" and "I Summon Scorn." Aurvandil proves himself equally adept at highly emotional electric and acoustic-there is a passion here even in the more trad black metal trappings that sets this nine song set apart. The smoldering rage and eerily sincere growls never relent, and though his compositional style becomes quickly apparent-slow to medium to HOT-there is never a feel of repetition or tired toss-aways. This is hardcore all the way.
Though a one man gig (Aurvandil plays "Strings, Voice and Craft") he does have a couple guests worth mentioning, with Wiedergaenger providing "Thunderous Scorn, and The Austrasian Goat chipping in with "Chthonic pulse on ‘Prelude,' voices of Scorn." You were expecting Nelly?
"Yearning" is one of the more grim, powerful black metal releases this year. Aurvandil may not be long for this world, but he is going to go down screaming with brilliance if he keeps to this level.
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