Vardan – Unholy Lightness Summer (Moribund)

Wednesday, 29th August 2018
Rating: 7/10

We would be remiss if we did not mention the fact that the one-man Italian depressive black metal entity known as Vardan currently releases full-length albums at an alarming rate. For all the booing and hissing we do over bands taking their sweet time in releasing a new LP, Vardan (who hails from the Sicily region and came into being in 1997), can be counted upon for at least a few long-players a year, with Unholy Lightness Summer coming off the back of the six-part Nostalgia – Archive of Failure.

Tasked with doing everything himself, Vardan, at least on Unholy Lightness Summer, often forsakes any sort of technical ingenuity with feel and minimalism. His drumming is shaky at best, often threatening to go off the meter entirely during “Unholy Lightness Summer 2,” but, in the song’s downcast, dreary, BM haze, the song almost becomes mesmerizing, whether because you’re unsure if he’s going to leave in a noticeable drum hiccup, or because of his riffs are so coy and suffocating.

The near post-black metal strumming that eclipse “Unholy Lightness Summer 3” is the three-song album’s high-water mark, a spot where the unyielding dark so affronted here meets shades of melody. This is, after all, the total purist definition of one-man black metal, where it’s almost preferred the whole thing sounds as un-modern as possible. Vardan succeeds in this endeavor. He’s probably succeeded on the dozens of other albums he’s released, too.

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