A Place of Solitude is the debut EP from Ukrainian one man black metal artist Yarek Ovich. Playing an epic brand of atmospheric black metal with some melancholic DSBM undertones, and just a touch of folk, Yarek Ovich creates a really exciting take on the genre, utilising strings, piano and synths to give the music that extra melodic flourish.
Epic tremolo picked riffs create a powerful sound, while the atmosphere generated through the use of strings, synths and piano gives the music a softer atmospheric layer, off-setting the powerful epic sound with a sense of soft melancholy, and it’s a combination that works very well. They’re used really tastefully, there’s no superfluous use of keys or strings, they’re use is very well considered and all fits into Yarek’s atmospheric vision. What’s really great is the production,while it’s a little rough around the edges, the balance between the instruments is fantastic, nothing dominates over everything else and all comes together in a great sound.
The vocals on the release are also fantastic, a tortured incomprehensible scream, sounding massive and right at the forefront of the music, yet very depressive, adding to the melancholic air of the album.The low, dense bass adds an extra darkness and reinforcement of the melancholy with some melodic playing, while the pounding drums add an extra layer to the epic scope of the sound. Lead guitar is sporadic, but when it does come through, such as on the ending of I Shall Not Return it’s beautiful, slowly weaving it’s way through the rest of the music. While the melodies coming from the guitars, strings and piano are rather simple, a lot of them are also rather folky, which when combined with the epic sound create a rather earthy feel, evoking a sense of nature. This reconciles the epic sound with the sad melancholy perfectly, the theme seems to be a sense of sadness at our abandonment and destruction of nature, yet at the same time a defiant spirit in the face of this.
It might not be the most original black metal ever, with the simplistic tremolo picked riffs and the use of strings and keys, but it’s such a well constructed EP with a great atmosphere that it’s a lot more than the sum of it’s parts. It’s thoughtful, epic, melancholic and it’s the way all those combine that make it the great release it is.