Velnias – Sovereign Nocturnal (Pesenta Urfolk)

Monday, 9th June 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Who knew some of the music from Colorado might suck the breath from your lungs faster than a change in altitude will? They maybe one of the less commonly known bands, but Colorado’s Velnias reach out to an extensive scale of audiences. Those who enjoy atmospheric, acoustic, nature-bound black metal will appreciate the leisurely tempos, calming acoustic guitar phrases, and woodsy spirits, while those who prefer a sharper depressive/oppressive sound with swifter tempos and shrilling screams would value the chilling auras and cavernous vocals. Either way, Velnias hit all sides of that spectrum, but ideally you must be willing to listen or sift through one part to get to another. Just like rocky highlands, there are ridges behind every corner of their music, always elevating, escalating, descending, or plummeting.

Apparently, re-release season has arrived. Going back to their early works, Velnias blew the dust off their first full length album, Sovereign Nocturnal, and re-issued it. With three tracks running on a minute record, we know these are lengthy pieces, perhaps a bit too long in some parts. Considering the dragged-out length with all the mellowness and gloom, it one of those “in the mood” albums, no matter who you are or where you live.

Sovereign Nocturnal’s new album cover is among the plainest, bleakest, and most lackluster ones we’ve seen all year, which oddly enough has it among the most pleasant. No colors, just black ink on a stonewashed white background. Having nothing but the logo framed at the base leaves a whole lot of void space. It’s a pleasantly austere change from all the tacky, cartoony album art that’s always circulating around. But, isn’t that the same artwork on their other album RuneEater from 2012? Déjà vu!

Velnias sustain a hypnotic daze crisp and cold as brisk mountain air. These dirges of theirs were clearly written in the hills with all the musty breath of overhanging woods accompanied by the bristliness of wild weeds. If you still find it difficult to fully absorb Venlias, then go take a hike, really do, and bring along a copy of Sovereign Nocturnal.

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