If you enjoyed the guitar-only approach with a noticeable black metal- undercurrent that Extinction Algorithm performed on their debut EP, you're about to find some additional enjoyment. Kuldvas is a solo-project from the United States that operates within the same field, but has a lot lighter and calmer sound, as well as a more minimalistic, varying, and more experimental style. This is Kuldvas' debut album, which was released as a free download some months ago.

The seven-minute opener gives a pretty good image of the album's overall approach. Opening up with some bassy and undistorted churning to create something of a beat, two distorted electric guitar tracks appear to execute simplistic but interesting pieces of riffs that paint dim, even dark images, but ones that are vivid. The song is pretty repetitive, but its atmosphere makes up for it. The following six songs don't even try to create any sort of rhyrthm, and in the end this is one of the main facts that make the album unappealing. For example, the third song tries to induce a dizziness and a feeling of being lost, but in the end its seven minutes of lenght and the highest tremolo-notes make it nothing more than annoying. It just doesn't fill the soundscape in a pleasing manner, nor enough of it in any way. A lot of the album could be described similarly, but of course there are really good-sounding moments as well. For example, the fifth and tenth songs have some really tasty acoustic guitars and a softly surrounding atmosphere, and the rhythmic eighth track with its screeching notes sounds fittingly distressing.

The album is a kind of a success, but also a great failure. It has only a couple of tunes that can be listened with ease with no fear of them sounding too bare or annoying, but surprisingly pretty much all the songs deliver the atmospheres they're supposed to - when you listen to a song, you can easily notice that it sounds like its title promises it to, and they most often follow a fitting flow and progress as well. The problem lies in the songs being too crude, hastily finished and simply too bare to really retain the listener's attention and interest as well as to enhance and deepen the atmospheres. I feel like I'm listening to a compilation of raw demo songs instead of a finished product, and even though this "demo" sounds promising, it sounds too unfinished to serve as an enjoyable listening experience. There are parts that sound like nothing else than a compromise due to lacking better musical ideas, and I can only hope that such moments will be gone on the band's future output.

The artist said that he might be employing more instruments on his next offering, so there's a good chance it'll sound a lot better. I'll be waiting to hear it. If you're into guitar-based dark and ambient atmospheres, I'd recommend you to stick around and check it out as well.

5- / 10