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Varathron - His Majesty at the Swamp
Review: Drawn out and intricate black metal at a slow mid-tempo pace, Varathron places more emphasis on phrasing beyond the three-chords-falling approach of most black metal. Its riffs are pieces of thematic monsters which unencumber themselves from their origins to extend to their full length and then resolve into slow, hypnotic, fading patterns of allusion to what once was. Into this mystical space of ambiguity arises a pattern logic of the clash of symbols.
Conventional rhythm evolves subtly to work through intricate riffs, with attention paid to the orchestral dynamics of voice and rhythm, allowing an easy walking beat to pervade an otherwise operatic complexity. The resulting sound is dark, low, and abstracted, with a more reserved approach than fast attack but laden with more perspective in the flowering of its variations. Easy pacing on the drums including techno styled simple counterpoint percussion keeps pace with this developing style, as do keyboards mixed into simple fragments of larger guitar odysseanism.
Dark hoarse shadows of vocals paint obscurity on the relative rigidity of structure. A Celtic Frost influence appears in the dark pacing and physical motion grooves of this music, which creates an ethereal presence in its sweeping but grounded work which remains disparate enough in melody to retain its enigmatic, cryptic winding ascent to the resolution of its themes in abstract freedom. As much heavy metal as black metal, musically, on an artistic level this release discovers a mystical voice which remains unmatched.