Sylvaine’s latest release, Nova, is an exercise in transformation. The album hits listeners with a myriad of emotions throughout each track, and presents the listener with the trials of rebirth from the very beginning.
The title track launches the album, and the ethereal vocals charm listener right from the start. The clean style conjures images of a folklore setting, and one can almost see the mystical beings walking through a beautiful woodland. A listener with slightly darker interests might also start imagining the intellectual horror movie that could use this track as a theme. The song acts as a lullaby, soothing the senses into a sense of security; however, that would be a false sense given what comes next.
On the next track, Mono No Aware, drums and the guitar hit immediately, and then vocals kick in – and Sylvaine showcases an impressive ability to handle multiple delivery styles, including the trademark shriek of black metal. On the multi-talented musician’s website, the artist writes about creating the album after going through some extremely challenging times, and the pairing of the clean vocal style with shrieking vocals effectively drags the listener through the pain.
Nova beautifully pairs so many disparate aspects of music, not only the vocals. The different back and forth of styles in each song as the album progresses showcases the amount of thought that went into the order of the track listing; it’s an amount of thought which one doesn’t always see in today’s world of modern music consumption and production. Each song change brings with it a completely different tempo and style. The first single “Nowhere, Somewhere Still” has one of the catchier hooks on the album to start it off and then the drums kick in; then, once that track ends, the listener is pulled immediately to a different emotional space with the slower, more gentle strumming of a chord to begin “Fortapt.” Even the lengths of each track showcase trial and changes: short periods of intense, harsher emotion and long periods of introspective darkness. The tracks vacillate between clocking in at 4 -5 minutes and much longer at 7 minutes plus.
With the more “traditionally” beautiful aspects of Nova pairing in such a unique way with the more hallmark elements of black metal, this album could effectively be a perfect gateway for someone unfamiliar with black metal or even the broader category of metal in general . Nova is Sylvaine’s most powerful album yet, and the impact the artist could have bringing in new fans to the genre could be huge.
Final Verdict: 4.5 / 5