The Rickety Old Shack

Violet Cold — Sommermorgen (Part 3) - Nostalgia

album cover

Finally, we have the last entry in the Sommermorgen trilogy, Nostalgia, which presents the amalgam of every stylistic influence one would expect in a typical Violet Cold release. While the project is somewhat of an umbrella, under which its sole proprietor has released music in virtually every style imaginable, the long-running theme has always been atmospheric black metal. Preceeding this record are two others, Innocence and Joy, which focused on the electronic and atmospheric components of the project's incredibly diverse mixture of styles. Nostalgia includes those influences and adds in the post-black metal textures fans may remember from albums like Desperate Dreams and Magic Night — minus the vocals.

Previously, it felt like a bit of strain to call Violet Cold a black metal project, but the inclusion of the harsh, wretched vocals was enough — in conjunction with the droning, buzzing guitars and some of the drum patterns — to look the other way, but Nostalgia breaks the illusion to some extent. Without any vocals, this album sounds very much like alt-metal; at one point this might have been a black metal band but the various other influences have tamed that sound to the point of losing all connection to its purported roots. This is not really a critique, as I quite enjoy Nostalgia and Violet Cold in general, but it feels like the black metal label really doesn't fit this project except in the most fleeting way.

That all being said, Nostalgia is still a very good album. From the opening of "Sommermoren," the first track, this feels both familiar and yet new. From album-to-album, Violet Cold has always demonstrated a progression and maturation with each new release, and this is no different. The whole trilogy was, in my estimation, a success, as it showed the ability to work within confines — albeit self-imposed ones — of a few genres, only mixing them all in the final record. It is always a gamble when a project takes the various elements that makes it what it is and separates them, as sometimes it can reveal limitations and weaknesses. I do not get that sense with the Sommermorgen trilogy whatsoever.

Where the previous two albums showed the ability to write very ambient, atmospheric music, and then combine those concepts with more forward-driving upbeat melodies, Nostalgia fuses those two and doses it with post-black metal and provides maximum sonic variety. The reason I named Joy as my favourite album of the trilogy is due to the novelty of its retrowave elements and strength of the overall song writing. I quite enjoyed Innocence and its ability to craft mood and atmosphere, even if it was the most minimalistic of the three efforts. Nostalgia bridges the gap between the two, though it features fewer memorable hooks in my estimation — the tracks themselves are still quite good. There isn't a moment of bad music on the record, but it somehow manages to be less memorable than I would have expected — especially after my expectations being raised by Joy.

The only real criticism I have of Nostalgia is that I feel it could have been a touch more aggressive. The lack of vocals, or the Azerbaijani instrumentation makes Nostalgia feel lacking when compared to Anomie, the last blackened full-length from this project. That aside, there is still a lot to like about Nostalgia, and I foresee myself listening to it quite a lot. For any minor gripes I have with the albums in this trilogy, overall Sommermorgen is a smashing success in my eyes — an ambitious effort and an absolute joy to have supported and purchased.

A double-album is a lofty goal, which has seen mixed results from some exceedingly talented musicians over the years. A trilogy is, likewise, aiming incredibly high, even if it allows for spreading the work out over a significant period of time. To release a trilogy as a triple-album is a bit mind-boggling, but Violet Cold managed to pull it off. As individual albums, each instalment is at the very least an interesting experiment, all culminating in this final entry — the most familiar of the bunch. It's a little ironic that perhaps my least favourite album in the trilogy is the 'true' Violet Cold album. (And by 'least' I mean: of 3 very good albums, this is the one I rank the lowest — it's still great on its own merits.)

Summary

The final portion of the Sommermorgen trilogy delivers the expected dose of post-black alt-metal that fans of Violet Cold should expect in light of prior releases like Magic Night and Anomie. The trilogy began with a very atmospheric, stripped-down synth-driven affair, progressed to an 80s retrowave amalgam, and now we finish things up by dropping in some heavy, buzzing guitars and more aggressive drum beats. Nostalgia feels a little less diverse than Anomie, but as a part of this trilogy it feels very fitting and is a quality record nonetheless. While this may not be the very best Violet Cold album, that's a very high bar to meet; Nostalgia is still 40 minutes of top tier atmospheric metal, and well worth a look.

Album Information

Release date: August 1st, 2018
Record label: Independent

Emin Guliyev — everything

Track Listing

  1. Sommermorgen
  2. Weltschmerz
  3. Ein Hauch Von Ewigkeit
  4. Blütezeit
  5. Langsamer Als Licht
  6. Lebensmüde
  7. Es Kann Niemals Erklärt Werden
  8. Revelation

Link: violetcold.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: June 22nd, 2018.