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Over the past few years, Russia’s Sivyj Yar has quietly released a couple of atmospheric black metal triumphs. Two years ago it was The Dawns Were Drifting as Before, and last year it was From the Dead Villages Darkness. Both albums are stunners, full of epics that grab you by the heartstrings and pull you through a Russian landscape.

The songs, like “Distant Haze Was Arising,”—my favorite song from last year—are often masterpieces of orchestration. Layer upon layer of guitars, acoustics, quirky bass and pained howls come together in swells. There’s are folksy elements in there, too, but the overall feeling is pastoral rather than music for tree people, if you know what I mean.

It’s all the work of one Vladimir. The maestro has found a groove in black metal that is both sorrowful and hopeful and at times borrows from the heathen and depressive genres. He continues to explore its contours on “The Snow Shall Fall A Long While,” ("Будет Долго Падать Снег”) a new song from Sivyj Yar’s forthcoming album Burial Shrouds (Поминальные холсты). The track is by turns bleak and beautiful, and more than ever, Sivyj Yar sounds bright—those guitar leads pop. Paired with that incredible cover art, I can’t help but think of the type of grim determination known only to those who live in particularly cold climates, where the promise of spring keeps you going like light at the end of the tunnel. Listen below.

Burial Shrouds is out on Avantgarde Music on September 23.

— Wyatt Marshall

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