posted on 11/2008 By:
And I thought Spite Extreme Wing’s Vltra was the only avantgarde Italian black metal album I’d enjoy this year...
First off, if you have not heard Spite Extreme Wing, do so now. If you have heard them, then you will definitely enjoy the second album from Janvs. Though not quite as scathing as Spite Extreme Wing, the overall sound of Janvs is similar in their sort of early …And Oceans meets Borknagar progressive black metal hues and tones. Janvs might be a bit more organic and more delicate but the band’s deft experimentation is mingled into their rangy songs as clean vocals, and clean acoustic passages litter many of the songs with a more peaceful, less eclectic aura than Spite Extreme Wing.
Still “Torri Di Vetro” bursts from the speakers with a crisp, superb melodic gallop and nicely done mid song clean break, showing a band confident in their abilities to make black metal…less black. “Saphire” cements the band's willingness to go outside black metal paradigms with an all sung track and darting mid paced progressive riffage despite a traditional energetic mid song burst. The 7-minute “Tarab” shows the band’s more experimental side with various programming, droning, jangly acoustics and raspy whispering for its first almost Arabesque vibe - it’s a bit of a stumbling block considering the energy and grace of the first two tracks. Interlude “Dazed” continues the questionable pacing and structure, but “Mediterraneo” delivers the same superb, layered melodies as the opener, showing that Janvs can deliver shimmering, epic riffs with the best of them when they put their minds to it and stop trying to be all artsy fartsy.
The title track is a more introspective somber number, but it’s done beautifully with an almost Opeth sense of melancholy and texture but with blacker rasps instead of deep growls and native tongue song croons. It’s a surprisingly mellow choice for a title track especially when it’s followed by start of the 11 minute “Vesper II,” which thankfully careens into the band's very well done melodic black metal about 3 and a half minutes in. It still ends with some whimsical acoustics and whispering, but at least on this track is mixed with the band's grasp of majestic melodic riffage. It's a fitting end to the album.
Ultimately, Spite Extreme Wing are the better act, as Vltra is a work of art, and I prefer the debut Fvlgvres even if Vega is still an enjoyable, more palatable introspective album with lots more moments of tranquility. When Janvs do fire it up, (which I wish they would do more), they are top notch, but their infatuation with progressive and artistic musings might be their downfall.
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