We've discussed, at length, the pros and cons of the short form medium: the EP. For established bands, it's usually a gift to the fans, proving that their time spent waiting for no music was not forsaken. It's a gift for your faith and devotion. For new or unsigned bands, though, it is far more important. That short release could be an application for employment, or an offering to garner your love and attention. Ygfan, a four piece band from Hungary, certainly fall into the latter category. Formed in 2013, they've yet to find a sound to call their own. But with the release of their first EP, a four song affair titled Köd, they still have a lot to prove. With four songs on the tracklist, and thirty minutes of music, it's a mighty and daunting task to undertake. But after a few listens, glimmers of hope are there.
Standing at a robust nine minutes, I is a strong example of what Ygfan brings to the table. The vocals are standard black metal fare, grating and drilling into your ear canal with little regard for your safety. But unlike their raw, rough counterpart, the instrumental is actually fairly well rounded. The verse builds around the aforementioned vocal component, though you'll find a healthy dose of intricate bass and a well structured guitar riff hidden behind it. The two parts don't necessarily feel cohesive, but they don't get in each others way as much as you might expect. The track length is to credit, spreading out and giving room for both parts to breathe. Conversely, II is more straightforward. Without twists and turns, or even a curve, it's black metal through and through. This may be the band at their actual best, a steady drop of the hammer without trying to be too clever.
The second half is one of versatility, for better or worse. III mixes some strong melodic sensibilities with the harsh, raw production that typically comes with the genre. In this case, both angles work, especially drawn out over eleven plus minutes. They're given room to breathe, to adapt and change, and that allows them to be one, while still feeling separate. And the ending, unlike the other three tracks on the EP, is a show of pure strength. The finale may be the most indecisive track, though. This is a post metal based effort, one that seems to undergo a crisis of association. The early clean vocals lack punch and tone, while the later return of the black metal screeches fits like a well worn glove. Luckily, it is the instrumental that keeps it afloat in spite of itself. It's a strange game of give and take that results, and it fails to achieve a solid footing.
When you try a sample of something, anything really, there are certain concessions that have to be made. This one, small piece isn't always representative of the greater whole. It works with food, the test drive of a car, and certainly with music. We've watched a handful of bands release single after single in the weeks leading up to an album release, hoping that each extra piece of the puzzle they reveal will lure you in to finish it. Ygfan are still in their formative years, searching for an identity to call their own. But what they have given us here is a taste that is surely enough to entice another. But before they present the world with a full meal, in the form of a full length album, they'll need to make the hard choices of what ingredients make the final cut, and which get left on the shelf. With some careful planning, Köd might just be a prelude to something better.
Bandcamp - https://ygfan.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ygfanband