Vadikan - Hydrargyrum 3.5/5

Reviewed: 6-1-13





Tracklist:

1. Break the templates
2. A kiss across the eyes
3. Chestnut candles
4. Eyes of the muse
5. Hydrargyrum
6. I remembered you
7. Autumn again
8. Suspense
9. Wicked love


Vadikan is a gothic metal band from Russian and this is their debut studio CD. The songs are a nice mix of energetic guitar-driven melodic metal and heavy, somewhat doomy ballads. The melodic metal songs are mid-paced, upbeat and quite heavy and crunchy with very catchy choruses but only sparse atmospheric keys. The ballads, in contrast, while still heavy, are slower and moodier with melancholy to poignant choruses; the keys are much more prominent on these songs, and range from symphonic to electronic to jazzy. Almost every song features at least one traditional metal style solo, often an extended one, and several of them have a 70s blues rock feel to them.

Their female singer, Yulia Tikhomirova, has a pleasant, deliberate, slightly poppy alto style of delivery; while somewhat narrow in range, she sings with an infectious enthusiasm and earnest sincerity on the melodic metal songs. Her voice, however, is perhaps best suited to the ballads, where she sings in a more mellow and somewhat forlorn fashion that is surprisingly engaging and enchanting, especially since she sings everything in Russian (the tracklist is translated) and I don’t know the language (although they do helpfully include English translations of the lyrics in the liner notes).

Although there is nothing spectacular about ‘Hydrargyrum’ to strongly distinguish it from the myriad of female vocal gothic metal bands out there, they have genuine talent in blending several styles of metal and rock into accessible songs with interesting variety and variation in moods. Because all the individual styles are so familiar I was tempted to dismiss Vadikan on the first few listens as yet another competent but largely inessential gothic metal band, but as I listened more I began to really appreciate their consistent and interesting variety; indeed, it now seems to me that they represent a more adventurous take on Russian pop metal, especially bands like Splav and The Lust, and they are especially recommended for fans of that genre.



CHRIS




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