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Ueldes > Ember Breather > Reviews
Ueldes - Ember Breather

Ashes from embers. - 52%

ConorFynes, October 27th, 2016

Veldes counts among several of the pleasantly quiet discoveries I've found over the last few years. I still remember the debut To Drown in Bleeding Hope fairly well from when I first heard it in 2013. Veldes was the sort of project I may have never heard about, had the composer behind the work not contacted me directly. With a fairly innocuous, safe approach towards nature-themed black metal, it also wasn't the sort of music that would stand out so much as to create its own hype. Veldes remained a kept secret for most intents and purposes, but the debut's atmosphere made it a worthy find for any who came upon it.

That said, Veldes hasn't seen fit to reclaim the magic of the debut on its other outings. The EP Skyward bored me to tears, and the subsequent releases had nothing close to, say, the chilling moment where T.L sampled The Road via To Bleed in Drowning Hope. For whatever reasons, Veldes slunk into an even gentler mould as time went on. The spirit of struggle on the debut gave way to a meek sense of resignation. Such seems to be the case with Ember Breather, Veldes' second full-length, and a solid indication that the project has lost some of its original might.

As a composer, T.L has a sharp grasp of atmospheric black metal, particularly on the spectrum's slower end. Elderwind and early Drudkh are likely first stops in comparing Veldes, although the sheer introspection recalls blackgaze as much as anything else. Veldes' compositions unfold as slow, minimalist sprawls, generally building a single up over the course of a track. T.L is also prone to filling up the sound with simple keyboard accents atop the guitar. In this sense, Veldes isn't so far from Summoning. But where Summoning fills the arrangement with dense orchestrations, Veldes keeps the composition to its bare essentials.

This minimalism can work brilliantly well in black metal when done properly (see Filosofem for a glowing example of this) but without a certain fluid quality, it gets hard for the music to invoke an atmosphere. Veldes' gentle pace could have worked with an organic presentation, but much of the performance feels restrained and sterile. Even within minimal compositions like these, there is plenty of potential for a musician to have injected them with live and urgency. T.L. doesn't botch the performance here at all, but everything feels too safe and calculated to encourage atmosphere. A lot of the time, I found myself admiring the simple effectiveness of the writing without really feeling the atmosphere like I'd hoped to.

Veldes is still a relatively solid act in my books, although the absence of such apparent flaws seems to be a result of the artist taking the tame route too often. While I was writing this review, I was relistening to To Drown in Bleeding Hope to see if my opinion had soured on it at all. The debut still holds up as well as it did in 2013. I can hear a fire on that album. I smell ashes with Ember Breather. Hopefully T.L. can reignite whatever intensity he had tapped into with the debut; the work's he made recently hasn't come close to that standard.

Originally written for Heathen Harvest Periodical.

Good album of intense yet accessible mood music - 78%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, September 5th, 2016

"Ember Breather" sounds like a great band name as well as a great title for an album and should Slovenian one-man atmospheric BM band Veldes ever discover that someone else beat him to the rights of his project's name, at least he'll have a ready back-up name. The music on this, Veldes' second album, is very good too: mostly raw and flowing melodic BM with plenty of sadness and rage and a tough edge in the churning tremolo guitar grind and the harsh screaming vocals. Add non-electric instruments like acoustic guitar, a plaintive piano and maybe a few other unidentifiable items, and the result is a recording of often hypnotic and deeply affecting music shifting easily from melancholy and anguish to sheer rage.

Opening track "The Roamer's Curse" sets the example that will be followed by the other four tracks: stirring, almost folk-like melodies and riffs that repeat throughout the length of their respective songs and which generate intense moods and feelings. The riffs may be taken up by piano and changed in ways that complement their guitar-generated originals. The screaming can grate on the nerves - it is extremely screechy and ragged in tone - but for impotent anger and frustration at the state of the world and humanity, the vocals are hard to outdo. Tracks are usually quite long - the shortest piece is just over 6 minutes in length - and since they are mostly instrumental and often repetitive, an argument could be made that they all could be shorter while still carrying the same force, passion and anger.

All tracks have very catchy riffs and hooks, and while no one track is better than the rest, probably the most Odinpop-accessible of them all is the middle song "To Ruins of Throneless Realm" which features some thrilling tremolo guitar work that just goes on and on, and some very crunchy riffing and hard grinding bass. The piano sounds even more isolated and pained in tone, probably as the contrasts between its pure tones and the rest of the music seem so much greater here. The mood is sadder here than on the rest of the album. There isn't much to fault here though if the drumming and the bass were deeper, we would have a real doomy and downbeat atmospheric BM monster. "Dust Scatterer" is another quite good song, introducing a slightly cleaner yet just as dark urban-blues feel into the overall Veldes style.

On the whole this is a good and consistent album of intensely sad and sometimes raging atmospheric BM - the only changes I would make to make this a great album would be shaving off a couple of minutes on the songs and taking out the last track which features no electric guitars and doesn't add much new to the rest of the album other than to reinforce the sorrow. If a major BM label were to pick up "Ember Breather" for release and distribution, it could very well be Veldes' break-out album.