Kauan - Lumikuuro review
|Release date:||August 2007|
02. Aamu ja kaste
05. Koivun elämä
06. Syleily sumu
08. Syleily sumu [acoustic version]
Kauan is a relatively young band hailing from the steppes of Russia, and Lumikuuro is their debut. The band is comprised of Anton Belov, who plays every instrument except violin, which is helmed by Lubov Mushnikova. Kauan plays a really innovative type of neofolk/folk-doom, reminiscent of Empyrium, Uaral, and the like. Thankfully this genre is still so vast that Kauan's style is still completely independent of the aforementioned bands.
Lumikuuro begins very timidly, with "Alku" being comprised of light piano and ambient reverberations in the background. While this is not exactly indicative of the rest of the sound to come from this album, it does foreshadow that much of the album will be of a slower tempo, even the heavier, more "metal" parts of it.
The piano work of Anton Belov drives much of the entirety of this album, and is the focal point for many of the songs. One excellent thing that he manages to do is to seamlessly move from mood and tempo while maintaining the listener's attention and keeping each song together as uniform works instead of making them scattered chunks of heavy or ambient sounds. He achieves this by preserving some piano riffs through both heavy and soft parts of the songs which is especially noticeable in "Aamu Ja Kaste", "Lumikuuro", and "Koivun Ela".
As far as musicianship goes, Anton seems comfortable in pretty much any style. He has a very solid deep singing voice as well as a very unique lower pitched black metal vocal style, which he uses more predominantly during the heavier parts but also includes in some of the folkier parts as well. Lyrically, the songs are very naturalistic, but I have read that Belov wanted the lyrics to be ignored and to instead take the vocals as just another instrument in his musical arsenal. Additionally, he is adept at composing ambient pieces with guitar, piano, and Mushnikova's violin. Unfortunately, when Belov does play the more blackened side of Kauan's music, he does so with far less technique compared with his softer creations; his drumming occasionally is off beat while his guitar work is very basic. This sort of cheapens the sound of the album, as it constantly shifts from good folk-doom to only above average blackened folk.
However, it is extremely interesting to hear how much influence jazz has on this album. During the softer interludes on "Aamu Ja Kaste" the guitar work is clearly jazz/blues inspired while on the "Syleily Sumu" songs there is a heavy focus on saxophone, which instantly brings to mind Ulver's Perdition City.
All in all, Kauan's debut Lumikuuro is very excellent even if it does falter a few times as far as musicianship goes. This band shows a ton of promise both for their own musical prowess as well as the slowly growing genres of Neofolk and Folk-Doom. Unfortunately though, Kauan remains rather unknown, and instead are a diamond lost in the vast Russian Taiga.
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Doit Like Bernie
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Doit Like Bernie
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