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Varathron - Crowsreign
Review: With yet another nearly complete personnel swap, Varathron returns with a musically erudite album that does not exceed the sum of its parts. Reversing the style of underground metal, this album is based around conquering and returning to harmonic patterns, not expanding upon them melodically and through the interchange of phrase shape.
As a result, like heavy metal bands of old, it is loop of complementary riffs onto which layers drop to create enough variation to make us think change is afoot. Keyboards take too dominant a role both in composition and production, resulting in an effect similar to that of Master's Hammer where a disproportionately bright and loud keyboard riff usurps any kind of mood collectively established by the composition. Some of the band's most evocative riffs to date populate this CD, but they're lost in the random introduction and presentation to which they're subjected, meaning that the listener remembers the "sweet spots" of each song but gets no impression of the song as a whole.
Even more, the very indie rock style composition cannot support the degree of texture or complexity required to generate the archetypal Varathron atmosphere, making this album present itself with the same sterile clarity as albums by Sadist and Ulver: good musical ideas that refer only to themselves, therefore leave us with an impression of nothing but music disconnected from life.