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Review: Vetrar Draugurinn - The Night Sky
Vetrar Draugurinn
The Night Sky

Label: Dark Skies Coming Recordings
Year released: 2021
Duration: 55:14
Tracks: 8
Genre: Gothic Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: November 7, 2021
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating
The Night Sky

Rated 4.2/5 (84%) (5 Votes)

A brief two years after the highly enjoyable Hinterlands, Vetrar Dragurinn have returned with The Night Sky, an album that sees them moving deeper into the moody, introspective aspect of their sound while sacrificing a bit of their catchiness and energy to do so. At first, I considered that a very poor decision on their part and found this album to be ponderous and dull, but repeated listens reveal this to be about as good as their debut in a slightly different way.

I'd say this album is harder to get into because it's subtler and a bit denser than before, with compositions that quietly build up on smooth, shimmering guitar harmonies that toll and crash like waves as they're led forward by the haunting, honeyed voice of Marjen Welman, who sounds even more mournful and soulful than usual. You still get some more direct numbers, with the propulsive opener "The Observer" being the most like a song off the previous album and "Lansdown Hill" being a very typical Gothic Metal song despite a solid guest performance from Mark Kelson, but these aren't representative of the album as a whole. The bulk of the album is made up of more contemplative numbers like the title track, the epic "As I Drift on an Ocean Towards a Distant Shore", and the massive closing track "Reynisfjara", songs that at first come across as dull and featureless but reveal themselves to be nuanced and at times deeply moving with repeated listens.

That's not to say this is an album without fault, though. The lack of immediate hooks does make this album drag in spots, as on the interminable instrumental "The Fear of Letting Go" and the pensive but dull "Our Lady of Perpetual Emptiness", and the band overall could still go with picking up the energy more to prevent that from happening as much. Still, The Night Sky remains a rewarding and sometimes arresting experience from a band that has done a fine job refining their craft into something more nuanced and affecting than before.

Other related information on the site
Review: Hinterlands (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Interview with Eric Hazebroek (guitars) on December 29, 2021 (Interviewed by Mjölnir)
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