Many of us read poetry because the author says everything better than we ever could. They express love, sorrow, hate, and even happiness with a combination of words and rhyme schemes, often times assembling them in ways we can barely comprehend. But we find ourselves in the words of others. Our musical choices are no different. With every album we hear, we relate to it in a unique way, finding our own experiences and feelings hidden somewhere in a song written by someone we've never met. Valkus, one half of Italian Gothic doom band Valkiria, has found a common ground between artist and listener. But without the use of a single lyric or spoken word, he forms a bond that is stronger than any written prose ever could. With his new Inadran project, he turns feeling to music, and emotion to atmosphere. And Dehanrast says more than any of us ever could.
Having full artistic control suits Valkus; Ad Libitum is an immediate testament to his vision and thought process. Walking the fine line between shoegaze and ambient black metal, it is a beautifully structured, and even more beautifully produced, opening track. You find yourself somehow soothed by the congruency of guitars and electronics. To say that they fit together like pieces of a puzzle doesn't do them justice. There is a thoughtfulness to each and every transition, from song to song, from part one to part two, and so on. To that point, Hendalion offers a great deal of transitional aplomb, a strength that is undeniable throughout. The absence of vocals is both a risk and an assumption, one usually not made in haste. Three tracks in, with the delicately balanced Mhunir, it is clear that it was also a choice of brilliance. The swaying of the melody here needs no complement. It stands strongly and proudly on its own.
Valkus has skipped the formulaic nature of heavy music entirely; track lengths vary from nearly seven minutes, to barely two. And each and every one is logical and magnificent in its own right. Even Aria, a track that falls in the median, moves so flawlessly that it is hard to imagine a single second being added or removed. Once again, finely tuned production is key to making everything work in harmony. It isn't just clarity, though; the balance of power is one that shifts and changes. It's both dynamic and unmistakeable. Whether it is in the haunting and floating synths of Sophourous or the inexplicably moving Inadran, you find detailed and immaculate focus on melody and melancholy, a pair that work so well together. But while each song shares those two traits in common, they don't lose their individuality over the course of the record. Each song has a unique waveform to boast. With Irhel, that wave is strong and forceful, without being overbearing or disruptive.
The title track, which falls in final trio of songs at the end of the album, may also be the one that best represents what it is that Inadran stands for. At some moments calm and serene, before rising in volume and impact. It forces the listener to ride a gentle wave from point a to point b, before carefully placing your feet back to the ground. There is imagery attached to its framework, making it hard to separate audio from visual in your mind. And with the aforementioned and omnipresent focus on balance, it stands to reason to Vediovis brings to the forefront a strong and heaving bass presence. It doesn't dominate the central melody, but elevates it in profound ways. Were it not for the album closer, Ulanhad, you could walk away from this listening experience inspired and impressed. But with a finale of this potency, that simply isn't possible. As the last crescendo builds, and finally fades, you'll need a minute. Sit back.
Perhaps the emotional bond between artist and listener is to credit here; Valkus has created an album that can be listened to and personified more than many of the others you'll hear this year. He has channeled an album in the veins of Alcest, a vibrant and heavy album, but without the added weight or burden of lyrics or vocals. They would be a complication more than an addition here, and their absence may prove to be crucial. On top of all of this, the acclaim and praise, the album is accessible; play it for those who may not understand various forms of metal, and they, too, will find solace in its overtures. It is as far reaching as it is mesmerizing. Dehanrast is an album that won't find a home on the Billboard charts or make Valkus rich beyond his wildest dreams. But it very well could help to define the year in metal.
Official Site - http://www.valkiria.it/inadran.html
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/inadranvalkiria
Bandcamp - https://inadran.bandcamp.com