Sylvaine - Wistful

Sylvaine - Wistful

(CD/2LP, Season Of Mist, 2016)

Lately my ears have been pampered and really, I cannot remember such a productive period music-wise during the last 10 years I have been using electronic ink to write my thoughts about new albums and music in general. Once I locked my eyes on this beautiful and oneiric artwork, I was almost sure that the musical content wouldn’t disappoint me. And I was right; Norwegian one-woman band SYLVAINE gave birth to a beautiful, ambient Post Rock album, with angelic yet haunting vocals, hypnotic and travelling-for-the-mind melodies and foggy Black Metal outbursts that really add that particular paint stroke on Sylvaine’s music-canvas that is impossible to leave you indifferent.

Titled “Wistful”, this 7-track emotionally powerful music journey could not have a most suitable title – at least, in my opinion. Stepping on many different music styles and guided by the talented hand of multi-instrumentalist Sylvaine, “Wistful” is a complex album, blending mostly mouth-watering Black-gaze / Post Metal tunes, powdered by her feminine timbre that at times feels like stardust. Opening track “Delusions” is the perfect ambassador to SYLVAINE’s dreamy world, so grab the best quality headphones you can find, dim the lights and enter this colorful forest which has just opened its gates and never look back. “Earthbound” that follows feels like putting things back in order (well, in musical order) by increasing the tempo a bit and unfolding a strange Black-ish vocalism between Sylvaine’s airy ‘ahhhs’, backed by vivid drumming and somber guitars. I understand that after reading these lyrics so far, you may have reached the conclusion that this may be a lighter version of MYRKUR, but really, tracks like “A Ghost Trapped In Limbo” will convince you that this is not the typical female-fronted-Black-Metal-wannabe act but a totally mature Post Rock caress - and I simply can’t find better words to describe how it feels when listening to the mellower tracks of this album.

Of course I’m big fan of using of unusual strings in Metal, like violas and cellos, so it’s goes without saying how much I enjoyed the more atmospheric tracks of this release. But I have to mention how perfectly fragile “Sausade” sounds like, thanks to the dreamy strings and Sylvaine’s lullaby-like singing, and how beautifully the self-titled track wraps up everything together with a silver-braided ribbon, under the DANZIG “How The Gods Kill”-type of atmosphere. But above all, I would like to put in words how it felt like listening to the BATHORY-esque “In The Wake Of Moments Passed By”; it isn’t the scattered Black Metal vocalisms or the abrupt guitar breaks that make this track wonderful and totally hair-rising, but its huge epic-ness that, without trying hard, somehow feels like it’s crafted by the same hand responsible for the “Blood Fire Death” sessions. Just listen.

Having a powerful instrumentation (courtesy of ALCEST’s Neige) and the knowledge of creating mesmerizing tunes, “Wistful”, through its 52 minutes, sounds like battling between light and darkness, intangible air and six-feet-under ground, with unique purpose to drown your soul into its endless sea of emotions. And yes, you can thank one person for that, Sylvaine.





01. Delusions
02. Earthbound
03. A Ghost Trapped In Limbo
04. Sausade
05. In The Wake Of Moments Passed By
06. Like A Moth To A Flame
07. Wistful


Sylvaine - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Synths, Drums

Guest musicians:
Stephen Shepard - session Drums on tracks 3, 4 & 6
Stéphane "Neige" Paut - session Drums on tracks 1, 2 & 5
Coralie Louarnika - session Violins & Violas on track 7
Thibault Guichard - session Cello on track 7