You know what? I feel Russia is a wonderful country for the mining of out of the way dark and bleak black metal. I say this now while listening to From the Dead Villages’ Darkness, the fourth full length from a one man outfit by the name of Сивый Яр (Sivyi Yar). Eastern Europe and Russia is a minefield of black metal which sometimes ranges from the heathenish, to the nationalistic, to downright national socialist. Finding an amazing record with decent studio production is a treat. Finding that amazing record without political or cultural undertones (or at least ones that do not take center stage) is a gem.
The whole of From the Dead Villages’ Darkness expands through its six songs. Ranging from 6 to 10 minutes, Sivyi Yar channels the shrill sounds of French black as well as the atmospheric style heard in bands like Drudkh. It should be noted that any beauty which is heard in em>From the Dead Villages’ Darkness is merely in contrast to the sober chill which populates the entirety of the record. The Bandcamp page rages about the outro to “Distant Haze Was Arising” which sees twinkling post rock guitars married with classic heavy riffs. It is unusual to see the same things which have been done countless times before feel fresh and completely new and interesting.
From the Dead Villages’ Darkness works because it is focused on a theme and scope. I believe it is taking people by surprise not only because of its region but how much its album cover and title match the music inside. It is not often one hears dramatic black metal which has the same temperature as leaves after an Autumn shower. At times I am enthralled with the sensitivity of this record and at others I am hardened by the despair which hides in between the light. I am embracing From the Dead Villages’ Darkness as a record full of emotion and pray it does not have any political undertones. Fingers double crossed.