With the Internet being so easily accessible and useful for musicians, solo projects are becoming much more the norm these days, especially within the black metal landscape. While this leads us to more failed attempts than successful ones, there are still a few very interesting projects out there that excite me in the black metal community.
Italy’s Vardan is a very exciting one-man band. Vardan (Anwech, Leaden, Tomhet) put together his solo project in 1997, but released his first demo in 2004 entitled “Hidden in a Tomb.” After an expanded release in 2007 and a split album in 2010, Vardan has released 4 album since 2012, 3 of those in the same year. With 2014, comes Vardan’s latest dark, bleak “The Wood is My Coffin” out on January 21, 2014 via Moribund Records.
To start off, the album cover sets the tone of the album which such a simplistic, bleak portrait similar to black metal album covers of old. Upon playing the music, you get exactly what you expect. The music is reminiscent of black metal classics with Vardan’s unique touches. The gritty production values of the album add a little more character to the album, but the shining star in this dark forest is Vardan’s musicianship and songwriting skills. The layered sounds play off each other very well.
The opening 4 tracks on the album is where the meat of it lies. The songs flow better and have a sense of unity with some great riffs and hooks. The last 2 tracks, Dawn of the Followers Part I & II are more simplistic by nature, but still rather enjoyable. They make a nice close to the album albeit a sort of letdown from what came before them.
Overall, “The Wood is My Coffin” is a splendid example of bleak, depressive black metal done well. While the ending of the album is a slight letdown, the first four tracks display promise and shows that Vardan is capable of putting out quality in little time. I would like to see a little slowdown in the release schedule though to give the music a chance to sink in with the artist. Some of the tracks do occupy filler space and take little chances.
The Wood is My Coffin Track Listing:
01. Night of the Horned Rebirth â€“ 8:05
02. Luciferian Assault â€“ 6:59
03. Goatcraft â€“ 8:50
04. Dawn of the Followers Part I â€“ 8:44
05. Dawn of the Followers Part II â€“ 6:20