You guys remember Warseid, right? That awesome folk/ black metal band from Wisconsin? Turns out that Warseid guitarist Andre Cailliet is also the six stringed warrior of another band, Večan (pronounced ve-chan).
Večan is another black metal band, whose origins I can only assume are also from Wisconsin. Their name is a Serbian word for "Eternal", and they seem to drive home a sort of dark, atmospheric sound more than anything, keeping with some of the elements of Scandinavian folk metal for extra flavouring. Frost, Reminiscence is their debut album, out only about a month ago.
I'll be dead honest here. Frost, Reminiscence was a really ambitious project undertaken by Večan. It's got massive songs up to and exceeding 10 minutes in length, and it goes for what seems like a big cohesive concept. It's supposed to be a fully enveloping album of mysterious and mystical atmosphere, but unfortunately, it wasn't. I think that Frost, Reminiscence is a great piece of music in theory, but Večan really fumbled on the execution. So, no. I didn't like it. I don't think it's so bad I would draw a parallel between the music and kicking puppies to death again, but overall I'd didn't enjoy my time listening to Frost, Reminiscence.
First and foremost, I need to comment on the vocalist. I think that he was the reason for my dislike of this album. As I wrote down little notes on the album while listening to it over and over, I noticed I had written either "bad gruff vocals", "bad grunge vocals" or something similar for most of the songs. I hate anything that has anything to do with grunge, and vocalist "Mad Max"'s delivery almost consistently reminded me of a certain flannel covered era of music that I loathe. The weird part, though? Mad Max has got some serious chops. In the first couple songs, as well as the song "Lost", he barks out some old school black metal howls and gets down deep into some brutal guttural vocals. He does a great job with those passages, but why is it that he doesn't keep it going for the rest of the album? Does he not like to do them? Can he physically not do them for long periods of time? Does he think his other vocals sound better? I think it's a damn shame, whatever the reason.
Other than the proper extreme metal vocal delivery and his grungey vocals, Mad Max also brings in a lot of spoken word bits. These spoken word passages really remind me of old folk metal bands or black metal bands who would have some sort of narrative or something in spoken word either in the intro or a bridge of a song. These spoken word bridges in Večan's music sound pretty good and authentic (many, if not all of them are in a foreign language that I cannot understand. My guess would be Serbian.) but they crop up so god damn often that they really feel in the way by the end of it all.
The music on Frost, Reminiscence isn't too shabby. Again, everything is there for this album to be totally rad. All the musicians have awesome chops, but the way everything is pieced together leads to certain parts that seem out of place. While Andre can shred like a motherfucker, there are times where he lets loose in 6th gear, flying across the fretboard when he really should be slowing down. When the guitar playing is tasteful and the riffs are solid, the music really shines, but for the zillionth time, once the vocals kick in, everything just turns sour.
Now after saying all that, I need to say that the parts that are done well, are done really fucking well. The last two songs, "Lost" and "Solstice" are really fucking good. The former is an amazing modern black metal tune, full of emotion and dripping with frostbitten atmosphere, while the latter sounds like a tribute to viking-era Bathory more than anything with it's chanting and horns. Again, it's beautifully atmospheric and really brings you into a completely different world, but to me, the fact that only the last two out of all eight songs are great tracks can't really save an album.
Bomb-Ass Tracks: Equinox, Lost, Solstice
On a Playlist With: Bathory, (old) Woods of Ypres, Agalloch
Overall Score: 2/5
Večan bite off a bit more than they can chew with their debut album, Frost, Reminiscence. All the ingredients were there for this album to be an absolutely awesome experience, and you can hear how awesome it is when everything does come together properly, but for the most part, things seem to be put together hastily and executed rather poorly.
You can check out Večan on Facebook and you can stream their entire album for free over on their Bandcamp page.
That's all for now, folks!