Review Summary: An essential collection of ethereal songs within the neo-folk genre.
The best way to describe Kauan
is tranquility. The whole album is a masterpiece of melancholic melodies that are composed with acoustic guitars that center on melody and rhythm, complimented by a bass that also centers on rhythm and melody. As well as chanting vocal arrangements, rhythmic drums, pianos, and orchestration. But what makes this album so amazing? It’s the atmosphere and the ideal that centers on the composing of the music that doesn’t overdo anything and everything to the point of redundancy, incompetence, or even blandness within the music. The balance that is presented on Kauan
is what truly takes the album to its utmost potential in a peaceful atmospheric way.
From the start of the album, the opening song Nakin Laulu immediately captivates the listener with a melody that vaguely reminds the listener of an Agalloch or even an Opeth bridge. If that’s not enough to make the listener to believe that there’s a reminiscence of Opeth or Agalloch - then the upcoming harmonium and bass melody should be receiving an Opeth vibe of some sort, while the vocals give off an Agalloch feel of tone. What’s amazing is that this album doesn’t center on metal of any sort, but instead takes Ulver’s Kveldssanger
to a new level; a new level that expresses a deeper feeling of emotion; an emotion of tranquil solitude. But that tranquility doesn’t always last. Songs like Revontulet has a Romanian Gypsy feel that is mainly controlled by the melody of the violin and the rhythm of the guitar chords, which ultimately makes this song the most upbeat in the entire album. To our own pleasure the gypsy feel is very limited (let’s be honest, Gypsy music can get overwhelming pretty quickly), and the album soon goes back to the ethereal neo-folk that was on the first two songs on the proceeding song after Revontulet. Another interesting aspect of this album is the versatility presented on this album. I’ve already mentioned that there’s a Romanian Gypsy influence, and an influence of style that’s been derived from Ulver’s Kveldssanger
– around half way through the album we see a more sinister sound that revolves around the Romanian Gypsy style, which turns out to be quite interesting rather than annoying. But what’s most daring in the album is at the very end. The fact that they’ve taken an approach of string instruments taking the lead on every melody isn’t a surprise, but the album closer itself isn’t expected. A lead taken on by the piano holds the album’s closing with a firm grasp for about eight minutes. By this action, we see a band that is willing to take on many directions with their music, which makes this band (and album) more interesting than its competitors.
is an album that should be praised within the neo-folk genre as one of the best. It’s also an album that will be enjoyed by many black metal fans that are accustom to hearing the occasional folk influence in some of their trvest of the trve album, especially Bergtatt
is a must have.