The blackgaze and various atmospheric black metal styles have exploded over the last few years. This has resulted in a lot of quality music, but also many similar sounding bands. Popular Azerbaijan solo project Violet Cold takes the lighter parts to the extreme.
They have an optimistic, synth-layered sound that is admittedly cheesy. One song is even called “Lovegaze”. The sound of the romantic synths and the black metal vocals can clash at times, and the female voices proclaiming love left and right are certainly not something for the Varg Vikernes types. For me, the album is all about the mood and music. The vocals are competent, but really more a complement than something that takes the lead.
2. She Spoke of Her Devastation
4. My Journey to Your Space
5. Violet Girl
6. No Escape from Dreamland
Clashes, clashes, clashes
Another thing that makes the record divisive is the long songs (averaging around 8-9 minutes each). The music on “Anomie” is light, melodic and accessible. At the same time, the song structures are quite drawn out. This definitely adds insult to injury if you don’t enjoy the sound in the first place. I think Violet Cold would benefit from having more compact songwriting. This would also differentiate the music further from the rest of the blackgaze crowd.
An album with a similar aesthetic clash between dreamy gazing and intense metal is Astronoid’s “Air”. I don’t enjoy that one as much as “Anomie” for several reasons. The music on “Air” is much more in your face, highlighting how the styles don’t really glue together. Violet Cold, while also taking it to extremes, still often treads the successful path that bands like Alcest carved out earlier. The synthetic landscapes simply fit so much better in this type of mash-up.
A love or hate affair that I simply find good
People tend to love of hate this record, and I find myself somewhere on the positive side of in between. I definitely have to be in a certain mood for it. On the other side of the same coin, Violet Cold gains a lot from having such a recognizable sound. It’s been a solid soundtrack for my summer running, and ironically “Lovegaze” is my favorite track. The limited scope and imminent cheese stops this album from being high on my album of the year list, but it’s still something I will spin now and then.