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Sivyj Yar steamrolled into our purview last year with the one-man band's excellent third full-length, The Dawns Were Drifting as Before. That album, loaded with nostalgia-laced, pagan, epic yet slightly depressive black metal, ended up being one of my favorite albums of 2013. I was a bit surprised I had never heard of the band before, but after asking around it turned out hardly anyone had, and the band has flown under radars seemingly due to the fact Sivyj Yar is from Russia, a country that doesn't get the same trans-Atlantic exposure as their European neighbors. I found one guy that knew the band—he speaks Russian, and corrected me on how to pronounce the band's name, which we butchered a few times on air on East Village Radio.

Not taking any time off, Sivyj Yar is back with a new LP, From the Dead Villages' Darkness (Из Тьмы Вымерших Деревень) for 2014 and it tops the last. "Distant Haze Was Arising" ("Поднимались Туманные Дали") lands in the middle of the album, and on an LP full of atmosphere-rich stunners it's at or near the top. The scope of this song is enormous. Grooves transition to pensive interludes to soaring blasts, ascending and descending with serious majesty on a backbone of rock solid riffs. It's invigorating as hell. The strings on this are excellent, Dornenreich level as Ian put it but less a focus and a bit grander at the same time in my opinion, a smattering of tasteful acoustics, some bowed, some not, that mesh better with howled, raspy, slightly DSBM style vocals than anyone could have imagined. Like on other Sivyj Yar material, the bass is more lively, quirky almost, than what is typical of black metal. You never want this song to end. I'm not sure if this will be the song that gets Sivyj Yar on the map, but it's damn deserving.

From the Dead Villages' Darkness will be out in the Fall of this year on the Italian label Avantgarde Music.

— Wyatt Marshall

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