Artist: Сивый Яр (Sivyj Yar)
Album: Поминальные холсты (Burial Shrouds)
Label: Avantgarde Music
There is something very unique about how Sivyj Yar approaches black metal. Just listen to the first song off this album and you will know what I mean. There is simple happiness to that lead guitar riff. It just doesn’t make sense. The vocals are howling and tortured, the music is clearly black metal, but those riffs just sound so positive. This is, surprisingly, the fifth album from Russian one-man black metal outfit Сивый Яр, better known as Sivyj Yar to non-Russian speakers.
You know what I think this is? I think Burial Shrouds is depressive black metal. But it doesn’t sound like depressive black metal. But I mean just think about it: the overly positive guitars, the wailing vocals, the quiet moments. This is a logical path from bands like Lantlôs and Woods of Desolation. Regardless of what it is, Sivyj Yar writes beautiful music. And it isn’t the same kind of beautiful that you would associate with an atmospheric black metal band, where all of the beauty is derived from acoustics and woodwinds. No, Sivyj Yar turns the guitar, both electric and bass, into his instrument of beauty.
Take Like a Sparkle We Will Vanish into the Darkness, the album’s mid-point. It’s almost entirely devoid of vocals, content to simply play a rather simple riff that slowly morphs over the course of the song. The bass guitar hums in the background, very nicely placed in the mix. The whole song is like a nice breath of fresh air, it just feels so airy, open, and sunny. It’s like looking over a deep valley as the sunlight dances on the snow. Why Sivyj Yar is making such blatantly gorgeous, positive music using the genre of black metal is beyond me, but I am very delighted that they are. The outro of this album is so heart-breakingly beautiful, I just have this image of a bleak winter storm battering down a traveller, but they still possess a deep hope burning in their breast.
One thing that I’d like to say about Sivyj Yar’s albums is that they never overstay their welcome. Burial Shrouds limits itself to just under 40 minutes, as did the previous album, From the Dead Villages’ Darkness. The albums feel like they are packed full of songs, as Sivyj Yar tends to write songs that are of a middling length (say, 6 – 10 minutes), so you are getting at least five full songs. But once the album is over, you are left thinking “That’s it? It’s over? But I want more!” Sivyj Yar never lets you get tired of this lovely music, because they don’t want to beat you over the head with it. None of the songs feel unnecessary or thoughtlessly written. What you are left with is an album that sounds great from beginning to end, and is short enough to make you want to listen to it again immediately after it ends.
Sivyj Yar has consistently been putting out an album per year for the past three years, and all I can say is I am really looking forward to their next album. They just keep getting better and better. If you’re interested in black metal at all, but you don’t want something too grim or kvlt, check out Burial Shrouds. You won’t be disappointed.
Check ’em out here: https://avantgardemusic.bandcamp.com/album/burial-shrouds