Last October, French black/death/doom metal trio Varechian has returned from five-year-long slumber, presenting their newest album with double title Tabula Rasa Ultima /// The Morbidoom))), joining forces with Latvian independent label Sliptrick Records. This is their first business deal, before that they were on their own, so maybe now they will get more attention for their music, which sounds, in truth, too strange and self-centered.
Varechian was founded long ago, in 1993, and under the name of Varech they have released one demo Chosen Reekhearsals one year after the formation. After two years of existence the group disbanded and returned again after 11 years! But only for one year, then once again they broke up and have returned from the oblivion in 2014, and two years after surprised with first ever LP Coldead Marble Memories. And two years ago they have changed the name to Varechian and gave birth to their second full-length Tabula Rasa Ultima /// The Morbidoom))). Not very prolific band, that’s for sure, but we can focus now on their latest opus, letting go all their historical vicissitudes in the past.
French culture is very deep and controversial, their desire for innovations and breaking of rules and stereotypes is in their blood, and so is their music – non-conformist and unconventional. Of course, we can’t hear the new French revolution on the last record of Varechian, but still it is difficult to categorize it into strict and adamant stylistic rules. And to compare their music with other black/death metal bands is quite a task! And this despite the fact that Varechian is far from experimental kingdom of indigestible avant-garde, but still, the unique views and undimmed creative ideas aren’t just beautiful expressions. Tabula Rasa Ultima /// The Morbidoom))) offers a mix of untraditional perspectives on traditional extreme metal.
Little is known about the members of the band and their constant line-up changes, now it is a solid trio of experienced musicians, known from bunch of black and death metal bands. But it’s difficult to estimate their intentions and contribution into this project, it seems like Varechian isn’t their main priority. But two albums for five years isn’t also a bad sign.
The sound is far from perfect, and it’s particularly felt during the singing lines, when the hoarse voice of their singer and keyboardist Regis 7.7.7. Whyte is placed into slightly muted background. Due to this, the jarring sound forces us to strain our ears in order to capture the wholesomeness of the compositions. The first “Fucus Effluvium Varechian Genesis” and the last track “Re-entering Purgatory” (if we don’t consider two bonus tracks) are instrumental ambient passages, full of creepy eeriness and minimalism. “Neikromanteion of River Acheron” (which is also reprised as a bonus track with rawer sound) also teases us with cosmic ambient elements that sound like perfect mood intensifiers between old school death straightforwardness, thrash aggression and doom stagnation. Black metal’s atmospheric fluidity and primal violence is ideally displayed during the third song “Astrum Argentum”. “Dead Tavern” is about classical thrash metal riffs, but “Mutant Humans Regression” playfully leads to groove/alternative path. “Still the Warmongers (Cybercore Industrial Remix by Grosso Gadgeto)” with some drum’n’bass elements, but industrial core varies greatly from the rest of the album. Old school aura, dirty sound and talent for un-labeling, and the result is Tabula Rasa Ultima /// The Morbidoom))).
The music of Varechian is like walking on eggshells, the fragile surface is full of classical clichés and conservative views, but under them is volatile lust for independent ideation and precarious experimental swings. Cover art is already on the other side of this duality, and you can name it avant-garde, naïve art or expressionism, it doesn’t matter, it still shows us that this French band can’t survive only on pure traditionalism.
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