Vaiya’s stunning debut record ‘Remnant Light’ gets fresh life with Bindrune/Nordvis reissue

Not every creation gets its just due when it’s fresh and ready for public consumption. H.P. Lovecraft essentially died destitute because his incredible, charnel stories largely went unnoticed until after he passed away. Now, the man’s writing can be credited for inspiring tons of metal bands.

Luckily for Rob Allen, he just had to wait a few years until his work was scooped up in a wider net. Under his Vaiya banner, he released “Remnant Light” in 2014, a three-track whirlwind of an adventure into atmospheric black metal that can rob you of your breath. Now, the mighty hands at Bindrune Recordings and Nordvis Produktion are giving this amazing document new light by jointly re-releasing it back into the world. The album is comprised of three tracks that each last exactly 13 minutes, and despite so much music in this vein being negative and grinding, Allen chooses to go toward the light and away from the negativity that can beat us into a paste. It’s a nice change of pace for this sub-genre, and another positive entry from the two labels breathing new oxygen into this music.

“Confrontation” starts the record with slowly unfurling music before it erupts into raw energy. Majestic and mournful melodies cascade, while wrenching vocals twist and contort the piece. The music manages to glimmer at times, even when things are at their murkiest, and passionate yells belt over the piece, shaking you to your core. Toward the end, the pace settles, as Allen gets into vulnerability, calling out, “Oh, great spirit, give me the strength!” before the track blasts open again and punishes all the way to its abrupt finish.

“Banishment” has a tempered start before it rips open and stares into the eye of the storm. Swelling melodies and harsh cries meet, dashing the piece with light and dark, while a strong dose of playing gets the blood surging. Total power and emotion mix, forming an unstoppable force, and then serenity arrives, complete with Allen’s gruff singing. The music leans gazey and clean, trickling and draining out into a pocket of numbing noise. Closer “Transformation” bursts with black metal glory, feeling unkempt and animalistic, while the penetrating light pushes through and causes everything to glow. While you shield your eyes, you’ll be overwhelmed with harsh wails and chaos before tranquility emerges, swallowing all the madness and bringing your head above the surface to breathe again.

“Remnant Light” might not be foreign to all listeners, but for those who have yet to be exposed to this first Vaiya full-length, this is bound to be a profound experience. This music is enthralling and uplifting, filling your lungs and pushing you toward greater understanding of yourself. Vaiya’s music may have been bubbling under the surface for a while, but it’s only gained power in a time when more of us could use a bright source of light every now and again.

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