(Nordvis Produktion, 2017)
#FOR FANS OF: Post Black
Listening to Vaiya's music has been about as rewarding as reading Milton's 'Paradise Lost'. There is an immense heap of dry atonal content that meaninglessly meanders in Vaiya's long-winded catalogue, a simple show of how many words can cover a page without catching the attention of its audience. Luckily, the man behind the band has finally created something of value and come into his own as a musician and, dare I say it, an artist. Rob Allen has shown so much potential and perplexingly thrown it away throughout this project. Years of wallowing in such unremarkable stagnation must have finally pissed him off and snapped something in this musician's mind that motivated him to strive for something better because 'Remnant Light' is finally something that works and captures the potential he had only been hinting at for years.
A one-man act from Australia, Vaiya creates some densely cloistered black metal in 'Remnant Light' that grows outwardly from its intense desperation to invigorate as it expands. Each song steps into the light after indulging the darkness it is bred in and takes a deeply personal journey that is translated into a warmer approach to black metal, but not without its own expressions of anguish through painful evolution. Finally finding focus, Vaiya finds riffs, the drums have become audible, wailing tremolos shine as cymbals crash and embrace the elaborate cacophony of real and palpable black metal rather than shoehorning words into a genre designation for a name without manifestation to back it up. The longer this album steps into the light, the higher the riffs rise, the more captivating is the atmosphere, the higher the score for this album rises, and the more this reviewer appreciates the effort and evolution this musician has gone through to achieve a worthy benchmark. Finally, a band has been born from the fetid womb of a gaseous bedchamber.
The album is split into three equal parts, each exactly thirteen minutes long. This makes for a long-winded and immersive exploration. Despite their length, each song's gradual pace is captivating and entertaining as it emerges from the maw of darkness to bask in the glow of hypnotic singing and beautiful guitar notes. The growth of “Confrontation” is best displayed in its flowering finish while “Banishment” takes wailing tremolos, upping the ante with harmonious intensity and a churning drumming backdrop that is actually audible and uses the space rather than simply fills it in. Later in the song is a fantastic moment where the ambiance of the guitars and synth march the treble notes into a grinder of drumming that gets me thinking of how Emerna layered his “Esoteric Digression”, forging a flourish from the fodder into a fleeting fortress quickly forsaken to its own fragile foundation. The general mix is more bass oriented than your average under-produced black metal release and the guitars fill this role with deeper notes thickened with reverb but in a warmer climate than what is usually expected from the European standard. The highest notes are noticed in a distant rhythm guitar quashed in so much reverb in “Transformation” that its bassy grain becomes a hypnotic meditation for the flowery highs of the lead harmony. The songs sound similar to each other, making for a cohesive thirty-nine minute ride that approaches the same sort of energy with different notes, but the structuring keeps things fresh enough as they evolve and the riffs have their stand-out moments that ensure they shy enough away from each other to forge their own paths.
Like his album's theme, Rob Allen has finally stepped into the light. Languishing in the darkness of a one man band pretentiously prostrating inanity at his audience with one hand outstretched shaking a tip can of oxidized pennies and the other hand tightly cupped around his trembling anus eagerly anticipating the next foul dose that he imbibes from his crack is a snapshot of a time that seems an age ago. 'Remnant Light' has redeemed this musician from the doldrums of barely passable mediocrity to find a man in an age of discovery, introspection, and self-realization. If this album completes Viaya's journey, it was well worth the agony of enduring so many terrible ideas to get to this high water mark. Here tears of joy can be shed as though we have made this journey together and we can rest, contented with where the path has taken us.