|3.6 (1 votes):|
Emerging from the dark woods of Washington comes Vaar and their short, but sweet 15-minute EP, aptly titled As Dusk Fell. With only 3 tracks, Vaar offers two meaty cuts of atmospheric black metal bridged with an acoustic/folk track to glue the two together. As Dusk Fell does not wear out its welcome and delivers an energetic spasm of vivid black metal, only strengthened by its use of Cascadian imagery. The music, after a few spins at least, might tread familiar ground and tropes common within the genre but that doesn’t stop this EP from emanating a chilly aroma that the genre is famous for in the first place.
Like a marathon through the woods, the first song is an adrenaline rush of woodland imagery, constructed by the main riff and its bombastic enthusiasm. It flies in your face like a fierce wind and sets the tone of the EP just right with how manic it is. While the EP is undeniably a sturdy exercise in atmospheric black metal, it sneaks in some depressive and post-metal/shoegaze influences through the vocal and guitar work. Vocals take a back seat to the instrumentation, allowing for a more atmospheric experience than one would expect but are still used sparingly. Distant, shrill and raw are the vocals when they appear and ultimately, they heighten the frigid sound of the album’s depressive air. While I’m not a fan of the blasting drum, nor it’s sound on the basis that it sounds programmed at times, it’s rapid tempo does click with the guitars and I can’t help but admire the crashing cymbals paired with the slower passages from time to time. Intercut with an acoustic break before a rising climax and end, the first song is easily the best (and longest) track of the EP, taking you on a standard but flavorful journey rich with a crowd-pleasing atmosphere.
The third track, while including much of the same mentioned in the first track, is still just as enjoyable if not a tad bit forgettable. This track turns up the dynamic tempos much more before, with the trilling guitars vibrant with more speed, and the breaks for breath: slow, heaving and patient. Between these two tracks is the acoustic/folk melody of Wounded Roots, which acts as a buffer between the frenzied black metal tracks. At just a little less than a minute and a half, it’s a perfect segway that transforms the energy of the previous track into something that’s just as atmospheric but in a more traditional way.
As Dusk Fell is lovely, yet melancholic sounding EP, emphasizing impressive guitar work and a sound reminiscent of the unforgiving outdoors. It’s a standout in the atmospheric genre, especially for a particularly reclusive artist with little to no information on the band’s background but still falls into the trappings of style over substance in some instances. This EP has left me optimistic for a future release and presented enough imagery of evocative woodland settings to capture my attention further.
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