Review Summary: Cân (not so) Bardd
These days I find myself in a predicament of sorts when it comes to the music I listen to. On one hand there’s the nostalgia fed albums imprinted on my cerebral cortex, undoubtedly shaping just how and what I choose to listen to. On the other I can’t help but steer away from my teenage listening, looking for naturally different styles and soundscapes to which highlight little relevance to where I am now as a listener. A need to explore more “mature” sounds has led me to the realms of black metal, folk and the near polar opposites of my youth. Of course this is just a rambling of a man, looking back at his former years with both fondness and respect - for those reading this little review it has little bearing on how they feel, what they want to know or even how this effects the debut efforts from Switzerland based one man project, Cân Bardd.
Musically, I tend to tread lightly in the realm of one man multi-instrumentalists who record their music in a bedroom setting. And while I have a huge respect for the guys who bleed this much talent, I know there is almost always something lacking, something not quite perfect.
Admittedly when taking an in-depth look at Cân Bardd’s Nature Stays Silent
the problems arise from the production, not the music or atmosphere that lone musical mastermind Malo Civelli presents so eagerly to the listener.
Nature Stays Silent
is an enjoyable, atmospheric repose built on the very foundations that allowed acts like Summoning and Caladan Brood a steadily increasing fan base. For what it’s worth, Cân Bardd isn’t simply a copycat act. Rather, there is a somewhat unique flair to be found within the album’s compositions. It’s the Saor-like nuances that pull this (nearly) overly long record over the line and diminish the hampering effects of the album’s production values. Malo proves to be quite the accomplished musician with his hands on the pulse for the direction of his debut. But let’s get a few things out of the road nice and early. Yes, there’s definitely better music in terms of comparison to the genre’s forerunners and the bands name-dropped above however give new listeners a basis for what to expect here. Nature Stays Silent
is a perfect entry piece for an artist showing more potential than he knows.
On a broader scope, Cân Bardd brings the typical black metal aesthetic to a world of heavily folk tinged compositions whilst being wrapped in layer after layer of gorgeous synth work. The result is beautiful, if not slightly marred by the mismatched levelling found in the record’s mastering and a tendency to be slightly too long in it’s making. Frankly, it’s something that can be overlooked with an open mind (and some patience). The instrumental prowess shown by Malo helps define the album becoming a focal point for the whirlwind of atmospherics that carry the album’s length. Even vocally, he uses a distant snarled style, emphasising that each part is exactly that; part of a bigger picture. It’s this approach that allows Nature Stays Silent
to be a veritable landscape of sounds, rather than a simple chasm of one dimensional black metal.
Cân Bardd paints a picture, bridging the gaps between modest recordings and a natural setting paying homage to the very wind and trees that push through the mountainside. “Silent” this album is not. Given enough time the listener can find themselves immersed in the chilling embrace of the mountain’s cold rivers, or the even the pine scented winds. In theme, Nature Stays Silent
lends itself to the colder, harsher offerings that nature has to offer. It makes sense considering the album’s primary themes. Tracks like “Méditation Glaciale” and “Océan” fill listeners with positive hope, not because the music portrays an optimistic mood, but rather for the promise of the quality to come on a second release under the Cân Bardd moniker. Defining an album’s overall sound on a scant mention of two tracks may seem underhanded in my approach, but the synth-drenched soundscapes of Bathory meets Panopticon riffs blends all too well with the Soar atmospheric qualities, especially considering that there is only one mastermind behind the making of this record.
If like me you’re looking to simply bring quality music, a quiet afternoon and a glass of red (read: bottle) together in a mood of relaxation and natural piece there’s a chance Cân Bardd’s Nature Stays Silent
will fill the void of hopelessness with a modest, honest effort of enjoyable proportions. While the album does have its issues - namely in its production and overall length, there’s a core of quality bubbling away, ready to emerge as yet another top-tier folk/black metal release. It’s clear however, that only time will tell.