Jarun- Pod niebem utkanym z popiołu

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, June 28, 2015

There have already been some fantastic Polish black metal albums released in 2015 from bands like Outre and Furia, and now Jarun can be added to that list as well with their sophomore effort Pod niebem utkanym z popiołu. Originally formed as a solo project of guitarist Zagreus in 2008 before morphing into a full group, Jarun’s blends together black metal with progressive and folk elements. It’s the type of album that doesn’t fully reveal what it’s capable of until a couple of songs in, but once it takes hold of you this is one of those releases that listeners are likely to find themselves fully captivated by everything this band has to offer.

Opener “Przedświt” makes it clear that the instrumentals are going to continually blur the line between folk/progressive elements and black metal, as after an eerier feedback laden intro that makes it sound like the band is going to unleash a harsh wall of blasting upon the listener they instead switch over to acoustic guitar work that has a distinctive folk feel. From there some traditional instrumentation kicks in beginning with “Kamienie” where the intensity is upped considerably and some of the harsher distortion and abrasiveness one would expect from black metal makes an appearance. But what helps Pod niebem utkanym z popiołu to stand out is that even when the guitars and bass head towards more traditional elements, progressive and folk leanings never seem to be far behind and they’re incorporated in a way that makes each song feel like it’s constantly changing in a very fluid manner. Admittedly I did find that it wasn’t until a few tracks in that the album completely found its footing on the first time through, though the earlier numbers have grown on me over repeated spins. But from the title track onward is where the harsh and melodic elements are best integrated, and the atmosphere seemed to build to its highest peaks. There are a lot of nuances to take in, and as Jarun skews further towards somber melodies and progressive shifts they seem to stand out more as songwriters.

The instrumentals may explore a lot of cleaner textures and head towards softer melodies on a regular basis, but vocalist Meph keeps his performance rooted in the aggressive side of the spectrum. His vocals consist of rougher screams that are reminiscent of a number of a number of other black metal singers, and it keeps the intensity at a high for much of the album. Occasionally Meph takes things down to an eerier whisper that blurs together with the melodic leads and adds an almost mystical feel, but for the most part his performance hits extremely hard and provides plenty of jagged edges to Jarun’s otherwise somber and moodier exterior. Pod niebem utkanym z popiołu has been recorded in a way that enhances its melodies and gives it a slightly cleaner production than some of the other black metal records out there, but this works to the group’s advantage as it not only emphasizes their stunning instrumental arrangements but allows the screams to tower over the songs and this makes a significant difference.

While there are still plenty of moments on this album rooted in black metal’s rough, abrasive aesthetics, Jarun spends far more time exploring the melodic end of the spectrum and reaching levels of atmosphere by intertwining progressive and folk elements. It did take a few songs to really pull me under its spell, but Pod niebem utkanym z popiołu integrates the intense blasts and entrancing melodies so well that it’s hard to believe this is only album number two for this group. I’ll also be interested in seeing where these guys go as they continue to progress, as they seem capable of blurring the lines between these different stylistic elements even further.

https://www.facebook.com/jarunband
https://www.facebook.com/UnquietRecords

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