I’d never heard of the label Ván before receiving this and the FUNERAL PROCESSION album, but I think I’ll keep an eye out on new releases from the label as both are reasonably strong and definitely worth a listen.
KERMANIA’s debut is an ancient, desolate form of Black Metal with an abundance of emotive yearning and a heathen theme. However, the structure is somewhat odd, with two epic (in length) tracks punctuated by shorter fills - though it’s strange calling a 6 minute track ‘short.’ In the context of the album, these shorter tracks are almost filler despite being of a similar nature to the lengthier pieces.
Sweeping arpeggios generate a soothing hypnosis, harshly interrupted by infrequent sections of traditional blasting creating an atmosphere similar to BURZUM. Acoustic passages also appear and are better used as interesting derivations from their polar styles. Vocally the vicious Black Metal rasp is sound, but at times the clean vocals, though adding to the atmosphere, can be a little dry.
All of this sounds very promising and indeed I would have been much more impressed had I not been fresh from listening to the recent WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM masterpiece. There the music is effortless, but here it is somewhat forced, stretching out even the better passages beyond endurance. Particularly in the long songs there is a tendency to both overdo the better riffs and, moreover, to incorporate too many that are incomplete or of a lesser standard.
Still, my overall impression of this album is remarkably high considering its competition and I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a heathen, Folkish tinge to long, flowing Black Metal. (Online July 6, 2006)