Monday, August 10, 2015
Violet Cold - Desperate Dreams
Amidst this race towards the next "new-thing", us listeners are primarily exposed to three types of artists: gimmicky genre mashups aimed towards grabbing your attention for its hour of fame, bandwagon-hopping copycats and a handful of bands whose sense of ambition gets all too often mixed up and drowned in the ocean of countless bands looking to set or follow the new trend, which brings us to this record by Violet Cold. Right from the start, a quick description of the project will be quick to spark our curiosity and raise some eyebrows: a one-man band from azerbaijan that blends black metal, post-rock and synthpop? After hearing such a description, most of us will understandably brush off this excentric presentation by dismissing it as yet another ploy by another gimmick band ; after all, it wouldn't have been the first time an tries to grab our attention by claiming to come from some exotic place... Come to think of it though, does it really matter where this music is coming from? I'd be one to say that, strictly speaking, no. As a matter of fact, strangely enough, I actually think that what really matters is the music itself... weird huh? So lets' dive into it and see how the record really holds up to its promising description.
After a beautiful introductory piano piece to set the mood, the record track hits us with a rather abrupt transition into 80s' style major synth melodies before diving the listener in a blinding-bright, all-engulfing wall of sound. The bands' continuous outbursts of tremolo picked guitars, blast beats and shrieking atmospheric black metal vocals piercing through the epic angelic choirs will in no doubt earn them a fair share of comparisons to the infamously polarizing sounds' of Deafheaven, though I will argue that Violet Cold does more than merely mimic a given sound. While the bands' sound undoubtedly bears its influence to the San-Francisco based band quite evidently, "Desperate Dreams" further expands' on the sonic and emotionnal textures shaped by the combination of cathartic and bright post-rock buildups and the desolation and raw sonic intensity of black metal. Through its confrontation of contrasting seemingly contradictory layers of musical influences, the band manages to play with sonic textures to create something unique and emotionnally gripping. A few songs into this record, we quickly come to realize that these synth melodies are not merely for shock value but really blends in coherently with the bands' formula.
The synthpop element does take over during some points, occasionnally bringing us some sweet catchy melodies as well as what may very well be black metals' first danceable beats, however they always serve their purpose on the overall flow of the track, adding some diversity and some daring innovation without shoving it in our face every minute or so.
With only 8 tracks spanning barely over the 30 minute mark, Desperate Dreams is not an album that overstays its welcome by any means but rather delivers its message and sound in a very concise way. Props should also be given to the production on this record, without which this ambitious release would have probably ended up as a ridiculous mess. The production is clean, precise and grandiose while at the same time keeping the right balance of raw aggression that is necessary to give this record the colors it bears so elegantly.
In conclusion, as with any other record that dares touch upon the rigid traditions of black metal, "Violet Cold" is a release that is sure to be greeted by as much praise as hate. Whether the bands' unorthodox sound is a mere provocation or simply a mere passive disregard for black metals' gospel in favor of artistic ambition doesn't really matter after all, does it? If happen to agree with this premise, I highly recommend you check this release out. On the other hand, if you're more of a metal elitist who likes his black metal untinged, I recommend you skip this one out.