Label : Grailight Productions

Review by Vard Aman

In Russian: Артания“Ночь Оденет Тебе Свой Венец” (“Noch Odenet Tebe Svoy Venets”). Formed in 2007, Artania hail from Voronezh in Russia (about 450km South of Moscow) and “Night Shall Crown Ye” is their debut offering. They play some highly accomplished melodic Symphonic Black Metal with all of the right ingredients for fans of this genre to enjoy, and enjoy a lot. Artania are very good at what they do but the originality is somewhat lacking. With this album they seem to have chosen to excel at the tried-and-tested rather than to take the ingredients, mix them up a little and create something new or at least somewhat different. The album is generally well produced and the songwriting and performance are of a very high standard. The guitar work is the stand out feature on the album throughout – intricate, melodic and heavy; perfect for this genre of music. The symphonic elements back up the guitar work well, without ever becoming dominant (this could be a good or bad thing depending on your personal tastes). The drums have suffered a bit in the mix however – they sometimes tend to sound a little ‘typewriter-esque’ in places, especially during some of the blast beats, although not nearly as bad as the ‘typewriter-esque’ drum sound on Cradle of Filth’s “Cruelty and the Beast”. Fortunately the problem is relatively mild, so it does not detract too much from the overall quality of the album, nor from the quality of the drumming which is really good. The lyrics are all in Russian and cover such topics as the works of Aleister Crowley; the prophecies of Nostradamus; Countess Bathory; etc. The tracks are all in fairly similar vein and/so there are no weak songs on the album but there are a few that do stand out from the others: for me they are “Mysteries of the Order of Priorate Zion”; “Liturgy in Black Colours”; and most notably, “Fogs of Witches’ Heath”. The vocals, handled mostly by Vadim (aka “Vad Kaiphas”) are as they should be for this kind of music with plenty of high and low pitched growls. They’re very effective and well delivered, but never really stray into the realm of the demonically awesome (but that may well still come). Backing vocals are provided by the keyboardist Elena (aka “Bathory”), and here is where I think Artania have missed a trick or two. Elena performs a few spoken word passages, some really good soprano vocals (she has a beautiful clear voice) and also possesses a harsh, cold, evil scream which she delivers most prominently on the final track “Secrets of the Moon” but better on “Fogs of Witches’ Heath”. Elena has been severely underutilized on this album! Had her vocal talents been used more extensively, they would have added a really dynamic (and evil in the case of her scream) extra dimension to the music and to the sound of the band – something that would have made Artania really stand out from many of the rest of the bands in this genre. There is a hint of what I mean in “Fogs of Witches’ Heath” where in places the dual vocals create a considerably more intense atmosphere, as opposed to the standard solo, or dual male vocal growls. Hopefully, Artania will realize the potential of what they have at their disposal in time for their next album, and if they do while continuing to develop on what they have done here on their debut, it should to be a mouth watering cracker of a prospect indeed! “Night Shall Crown Ye” is a good melodic Sympho-Black album and is a must have for any fan of this genre. Don’t expect something new, but expect something good. This is a very competent debut from a very competent band, and they have displayed the potential to grow and to rise above the rest of the genre in the future. Artania – you’d do well to keep an eye open for this name!

Rating – 79/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Алхимический Сон (Демоническая Мантра) (Alchemic Dream – Demonic Mantra)
  2. Ночь Оденет Тебе Свой Венец (Night Shall Crown Ye)
  3. Тайны Ордена Приората Сиона (Mysteries of the Order of Priorate Zion)
  4. Литургия в Чёрных Тонах (Liturgy in Black Colours)
  5. Сан-Гриньол (Театр Смерти) (San-Grinyol – Theatre of Death)
  6. Туманы Ведьминской Пустоши (Fogs of Witches’ Heath)
  7. …За Северным Ветром (…Towards Northern Wind)
  8. Тринадцатый Знак Нострадамуса (Thirteenth Sign of Nostradamus)
  9. Секреты Луны (Secrets of the Moon)

 

Line Up

  • Vadim (Vad Kaiphas) – Vocals
  • Alexander (Graf) – Guitar
  • Yuri (Jason L. Madness) – Guitars
  • Elena (Bathory) – Keyboards & Vocals
  • Vyacheslav (Iskariot) – Bass 
  • Artem (Set) – Drums 

 

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