Originally a solo project, Janvs (otherwise known as Janus for non-Latin fans) became a band proper around about 2005. ‘Vega’ is their second album and, not having heard their debut (2007's 'Fulgures'), I went into this one quite cold; save for some brief MySpace listening. Essentially a black metal band at heart, Janvs have taken the path already carved out effectively by the likes of Agalloch, Fen, Wolves in the Throne Room etc and have bestowed upon us an exceptionally well crafted album of melodic post-black metal. The scope of these seven songs is gloriously epic, from the crashing opener 'Torri di Vetro' to the closing moments of the truly magnificent ‘Vesper II’; we're taken on a musical journey through ethereal lyrical and musical obliqueness. Atmospheric in spades, it shows how a little bit of thought in the writing process can lead to incredible results. Not merely content to melt our faces, although they do that on occasion with aplomb, they are equally happy to take cue from the likes of Opeth and Agalloch and present their influences, be it blues or jazz, in some of the greatest melodic touches to have graced my ears this year. Of course, there are some issues. 'Dazed' seems out of place, effective though it is with touches of Vangelis; a short instrumental relying entirely on synths, it feels like a filler track and, at just under two minutes, is not really worth including. The production is fine throughout of course, with each instrument given the room to shine. It will be interesting to see Janvs recreate this in a live setting; such is the reliance of multi-tracking, with numerous guitar parts swirling around the subtle synth layers. Ultimately, if you like your extreme music to have flair and melody to go with the muscle, this album should leave you satisfied. A very accomplished release.
Review by Steve Cowan
1) Torri Di Vetro
7) Vesper II
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...an exceptionally well crafted album of melodic post-black metal."