Daniel of Eye of Solitude (signed to Kaotoxin Records, a brutal French label) is known for his plethora of side projects. Vaer is yet another of these projects which Daniel works alongside Déhà, someone whom has collaborated with him before with the doom bands Clouds and Imber Luminis. With their melodic riffs and emotional vocals, Vaer is an incredible black metal project that can be enjoyed by multiple scenes.
When I first heard the album “For So Many Reasons,” I was immediately impressed by how they were able to incorporate such feeling and emotion in their riffs in way that even almost surpasses Wolves in the Throne Room. I will definitely be keeping tabs this band and hope for many more fantastic releases.
You will expect to hear long, ongoing riffs throughout this release, and not a lot of technical or complex material. For the most part, Vaer plays post-black metal with a depressive and atmospheric feel. As you listen to “Beneath the Shade of Time,” you’ll notice it has a huge doom influence with slow chugging riffs repeated countless times before getting to the more black metal riffs. You’ll hear a good variety of riffs spanning from the repeating doom-like riffs, provocative post-metal leads, and black metal tremolo-picked riffs. The drums (programmed or not) sound great and flow well with the guitars.
As far as I know, Vaer sounds unique, adding several musical elements together. They are obviously influenced by Wolves in the Throne Room black metal and add some emotion-filled Alcest along with a small dose of doom metal.
My favorite part of Vaer is their vocals. Most of the vocals consist of anguished screams and howls. Pulling from (what I feel is) a melodic hardcore influence, I can literally feel the pain and despair in the voices as they belt their angst. The vocal styles vary from Emperor or Wolves in the Throne Room shrieks to sludgy mids, to deathgrowls, to spoken growls. They even feature actual singing! The singing actually isn’t all too great. Some of the sung vocal melodies should have been done with choirs instead of one man, but I can understand the project not having the budget to record such vocal tracks.
All three songs are black metal epics with the average length of around thirteen minutes. This is music to be heard while laying down in repose as the melodies and agonizing screams take you on a long dangerous journey through your emotions and memories, imagining gray, smog-filled skies and bleak city streets. The soundscapes were not necessarily made to be catchy, but to permeate your mind and control your senses as how the pouring rain showers drenching your surroundings or the whisper of the brisk northern winds blowing captivate you. Let the desolation and pain creep into your soul as the music plays.
This album does not really have any flaws. I think they accomplished exactly what they intended: “40 minutes of relentless pain;” though for some reason, the pain calms my soul and gives me peace. For fans in a certain scene, certain aspects about music would not appeal to them, whether that be the singing vocals and perhaps cheesy-emotional leads for the diehard black metal fans, doom metal influence for metal fans who like fast paced riffs, or black metal brutality for the post-metal/sludge/post-hardcore fans.
“For So Many Reasons” is a wonderful album providing an emotional journey through “desolation, anguish, despair and isolation” with their moving riffs and vocals. Anyone looking for some poignant black metal should definitely listen to Vaer. This album is probably my favorite black metal release of the year!
– Benjamin Kosanke (The Vociferator)