Sivyi Yar - Towards the Twilight
Gardarika Musikk
Atmospheric Pagan Post-Black Metal
3 songs (23'56")
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Alex

Towards the Twilight by the Russian one-man band Sivyi Yar fell into my hands by pure chance, as a part of a gift package which included a few other Slavic pagan metal releases (the latest Munruthel and Paganland are absolutely worth your time, people). Sivyi Yar is so obscure I never even heard the name before, and I am sure some people will have trouble making out the logo (in Russian) on the front. The font the band uses to spell out the moniker also took me a while to decipher, and I am a native speaker. Yet, if you are in the business collecting heretofore unknown atmospheric post-black metal from Russia, get ready to add another entry into your list.

The opening title track shows that Vladimir, Sivyi Yar mastermind, paid attention to how interesting major riffs sound in the context of atmospheric distorted layering. Borrowing from Alcest in that approach, Towards the Twilight oscillates between the aural euphoria and more dissonant moments, all of them covered by thick distorted ambiance. Where the composition may lose some listeners, it did it for me, is the vocals. Not banshee shrieks or whispers serving as another music layer, Vladimir insists on basically harsh declamation, as I can hardly call this singing. Where the vocals are in the mix may distract as well, as in my modest opinion they are way too much in the forefront. On the other hand, the song is dedicated to another Russian underground black metal musician who committed suicide, so there could be personal meaning to this unusual vocal approach.

The middle cut Smutnaya Mgla (Hazy Darkness) connected with me much stronger. Just as desperate in its final outcome, the more melodic now minor riffs combined with the more reserved vocals, allow for peace and relaxation, even if the lyrical subject is about the fratricidal Civil War. To close the EP Vladimir chose Merzali Zvezdi nad Elovoi Bezdnoi (The Stars Twinkled over Fir Abyss), which is nothing more than an exercise in shamanism, with female choir lamenting and reciting incantations over burning forest fire coals.

Not a gem I am going to put up on the highest pedestal, but Towards the Twilight has its moments, and Smutnaya Mgla deserves at least several spins if you are into Russian atmospheric black metal.

Killing Songs :
Smutnaya Mgla
Alex quoted 71 / 100
Other albums by Sivyi Yar that we have reviewed:
Sivyi Yar - From the Dead Villages' Darkness reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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