C脗N BARDD (CHE) – Devoured by the oak, 2021 🇬🇧


– Versi贸n en castellano –

Listening to this album has been a little less than a rollercoaster; my views about the album have changed more than I would like to admit. But let’s first take care of the presentation. If we want to understand this band’s new album, we must know who they are. C脗N BARDD are a swiss black metal duo with folk influences, similar to SAOR or SOJOURNER, but what is special about this band is the fact that they rely on a bit more aggressiveness and experimentation than their peers.

However, C脗N BARDD bid farewell to 2021 with the release of their first album, Devoured by the oak; a release on which one would have so much hope given the examples of the hymns brought by their debut and second album. And here lies the biggest virtue of Devoured by the oak; it is a clear successor of the previous works. Its sound proves that C脗N BARDD is capable of composing powerful and moving songs, while at the same time displaying a brutal aggressiveness that hits us with the abysmal force of nature. 

Unfortunately, its greatest virtue is also its biggest flaw. Devoured by the oak is a tremendous unchanging work, not only with regards to the band’s previous albums but also considering the whole atmospheric black metal tradition with folk touches that it carries. This is especially bad if we remember that C脗N BARDD has been a band that, until now, has shown innovative progress throughout its career. Its new album is a step back in relation to this; Nature stays silent and The last rain brought something new to the table or elaborate upon what had already been built. Devoured by the oak gives up on this in favor of a sort of songs that seem to share the same structure, except the purely acoustic songs. Every song on this album tends to come from a design in which black metal and folk mix heavy orchestrations until the sixth or seventh minute to then pave the way to sections of choral vocals that resemble each other all too much.

This makes us feel like we are always listening to the same song, there is no distinction between any of the compositions because everything seems to mix resulting in the same sound over and over again. And I must admit that this is really hard to say; this album started by sending off this kind of impression, but after several spins, it became one of the best releases of C脗N BARDD, after a few more listenings I sadly ended up thinking what I was afraid at the start.

However, I don’t want to say that this album is not an enjoyable experience, nothing could be further from the truth, each and every song works particularly well if you listen to them on their own. The problem is that we are talking about an album, as a whole, it should be even more than the addition of its parts; this does not happen, in fact, the album is less than each of its isolated parts. This is precisely the saddest element, the potential is there but the result is a disappointing drop of the same elements during the entire length of the album.

To sum up, this album is one that leaves us with a bitter taste because it shows on many occasions what C脗N BARDD is capable of, but at the same time, it suffers from unstoppable repeatability. The melodies that we found here are meaningful and they reach the bottom of our hearts but, however, they give up their strength when we have seen the trick repeated countless times; unfortunately, this is what Devoured by the oak suffers from.