Although slightly less recent, this is the second review from the prolific Moscow one-man band I'm dealing with. The album possibly refers to the contrast between extreme modern civilisation and the simple footprints left by a man who lives on the outskirts of a metropolis.
After a big freeze intro, the songs envelop themselves showing cruel, blood-curdling mid-tempos that have made the fortune of thousands of bands (Fearbringer is the first to come to my mind music- and vocal-wise), but the Russian artist is able to make everything fresh and acceptable once again, even if the time changes aren't frequent at all. We've already learned to appreciate his songwriting, simple, mathematic, yet painstakingly effective, and what's more I'll never stress out enough his killer riffs and ghastly vocals characterizing every song of his. Yes, the riffs are between Black, Viking and Atmospheric metal, the vocals belong to the Black metal universe, still at the same time they're not classic screams or demonic angry vocals.
Vaarwel's secret is creating relatively long tracks that pass by without fatiguing the listeners, and when the unique keyboard layers appear side by side with the guitar, such is the case of "Lurker", the sonic orgasm is achieved. This example makes a song modern and traditional making old-fashioned die-hard fans and others more open to electronic inputs get along with each other. "Steps above the Silence" is the most complete composition, including a melodic part, distant clean vocals together with the typical elements.
I miss the lack of lyrics in the booklet, and I believe this is due to the fact they're mere vocalizations; it's probable seen his minimalistic attitude as for lyrics, artwork and music style decisions. One more thing I miss music-wise is the bass, and I can't tell you if it's not used or if it was buried in the mix; for me it's simply invisible and its contribution would be a plus, but unfortunately in this case I and the band don't find any common ground.
Besides this, "Vestigial Existence" is supposed to stand the test of time and stay with us for years, not just a fleeting glimpse of memory of 2011.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - January 20, 2012