To say that 2016 was a tumultuous year would be an understatement akin to calling the thirty-year siege of Ceuta a “brief skirmish.” For all the trials and tribulations endured, last year did produce a heady number of quality metal albums that offered some comfort for the unfolding apocalypse. One of those albums was Magic Night by one-man black metal act Violet Cold, a bittersweet hour of instrumental blackgaze that earned a place on my year-end Top 10 list. Emin Guliyev, the sole puppeteer of Violet Cold, returns with a new album entitled Anomie, except this record re-inserts vocals for a release in line with traditional atmospheric black metal albums. I was greatly anticipating getting my hands on Anomie, but I did harbor a small measure of concern that the inclusion of vocals may spoil the delicate composition found on Magic Night. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded and while both albums share structural similarities it would be wrong to assume that Anomie is simply Magic Night plus vocals.

I had initially thought that the album title was a name, perhaps in reference to the young woman on the album cover. What I discovered is that “anomie” is a “condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals,” a form of social disorder that was first outlined in the 1897 book “Suicide” by Émile Durkheim. Durkheim and others exhort that anomie represents a schism between the collective goal of a society and the individual’s inability to achieve it, leading to potential deviant behaviour. Anomie can also describe individuals ignored and vilified because they run counter to a society’s groupthink. It’s the latter that informs the tone on Anomie, a blistering expulsion of frustration and bitterness that contrasts against the inward melancholy found on Magic Night.

Opener “Anomie” leaves no doubt that Guliyev is upset with the current order of things, the track erupting out of the gate with varnish-stripping tremolo picking and unremitting blastbeats. It’s not long before Guliyev spits out his vocals, offering a rasp that is equal parts venom and sorrow, the equivalent of a hiss escaping clenched teeth. The shift in tone from Magic Night is noticeable but not overt, the change stemming from the heightened energy and palpable outpouring of emotion. Flourishes like middle-eastern guitar and siren ellipses displays the hallmarks of a Violet Cold release. “She Spoke of Her Devastation” is a languid stretching of limbs and though it may be redolent with synths the music buckles under the weight of cascading chords and tear-brimmed wails. Guliyev once again proves that he is an uncannily talented man, being able to play the living daylights out of any instrument he touches and then arranging it with compositional grace. There’s a rightness to the music on the album, a nourishing truth that borders on a Platonic ideal.

The music is also heavy but rather than expressing this through a battery of notes or unspeakable volume the impact comes from the outpouring of grief, rage and anxiety that is tethered to every note. Magic Night had a resigned sorrow in its bones, but the beauty buried in the blues made the experience akin to beholding a carving made from lapis lazuli. Anomie is also beautiful but rather than offering a wan smile at a hopeless situation, it twists its face with grief and lets out a howl of indignation. There’s an air of desperation to the music, as if each song may be the last. “Lovegaze” is a gorgeous track, swirling with vivacious keys, fulsome bass and zig-zag synths that wouldn’t be out of place on a Muse record, but the love feels unrequited, like the subjects know their star-crossed fate will tear them apart.

Guliyev has again delivered an album worthy of praise that stands as one of the strongest releases this year. It’s also the most emotionally draining record that I’ve imbibed in recent memory. After every listen I sat for a spell, silent, trying to summon my spirit and regain my cheer. Anomie delivers the feeling of rueful disassociation that is its namesake and does it with a grace that belies the torment therein. When final track “No Escape From Dreamland” fades out to the whistling of woodwind instruments, blastbeats, mournful synths and impotent screams, the silence in its wake leaves me deeply perturbed. I feel like I’ve lost something that I may never get back. All I want to do is return to Anomie’s shore, but it’s hard when you know your heart will be dashed against the rocks.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Fólkvangr Records | Tridroid Records
Releases Worldwide: July 21st, 2017

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  • Drew Music

    So not to be… well not That Guy, but some guy, but this came out in March, homie.

    • El_Cuervo

      Correct me if I’m wrong but I think this is the physical release? And clearly TY thought the album was worthy of a review because he likes it!

      • Drew Music

        Could very well be, I only ever downloaded this one, I just know I did so a while ago. And of course it’s worthy of a review, it’s Violet Cold. I’m just trying to confirm that I haven’t somehow hallucinated an album into existence, cuz if I have those powers then I need to focus them on manifesting a new Tool release.

    • Treble Yell

      The digital release did but the physical release is now. And yeah, I wasn’t going to let this one slip through my fingers.

      • Drew Music

        I’m glad you didn’t, now I know there’s a vinyl release with my name on it. I dug Magic Night just a (presumably violet) shade more, but this album is still incredible. 4.0 f’sho, yo.

  • Meriyas

    Violet Cold was pretty good on the Imperfect split album too, I’ll be checking this out when I get a chance. Cheers Treble.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    This album is beautiful, start to finish.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Me want, but not for $777.00 USD.

    • Philip Pledger

      From a business perspective, I’m not quite sure what they’re thinking. That’s just bloody unreasonable.

      • Drew Music

        I think it’s to help sway people to purchase the digital album directly through the band, as opposed to going through the label if you’re not getting a physical release (ha). Poor period placement is a plausible possibility, I suppose, but I want to believe that there’s a better reason than that for this type of thing happening with many other bands as well.

        • Philip Pledger

          Realistically, though, it’s just going to sway people to piracy. Most people aren’t going to check if the same music appears on multiple Bancamp pages. That just isn’t going to occur to them. Piracy is a large enough problem without these kinds of shenanigans going on…

          • Drew Music

            No doubt, if it is the case I fully agree that that method of marketing is likely to send many people to pirate sites as people are just not inherently bright things. This is just a theory I developed maybe 8 minutes ago in my desperate attempt to make sense of this ridiculousness. I’m professionally incorrect, so there’s probably a vaguely sensible explanation to be found somewhere out there which is much different from mine.

      • FolkvangrRecords

        Please see above.

        • Drew Music

          Woohoo! I’m right by accident, I’ll take it.
          And thanks in advance for helping to spread the Violet word, I’ll be lusting after that vinyl + shirt combo until payday now.

          • FolkvangrRecords

            I have 3 large and 6 mediums left. Hope you get one!

          • Drew Music

            Yikes, me too though I won’t hold my breath. I get paid Friday so they’ll likely have sold out by then, but I’ll still be pretty pumped to get just the vinyl should it come to that. Glad they’re getting exposure no matter what, cheers to you and VC!

    • Go to their own bandcamp page. You can buy it for $6. Google “violetcold bandcamp anomie.”

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Thanks. Weird. Looks like the AMG staff just removed the link above that I clicked a few minutes ago. So that was a fake site?

        • The band and labels run their own pages. If they want not to sell a digital album, or cannot sell it for a contract, it is possible that they put the irrational price. Though I don’t know why just they hide it.

          • FolkvangrRecords

            Bandcamp has pretty strict rules, as they make their money via digital sales.

          • I understand the situation by your comment. I have thought that BC is bureaucratic. I had mailed them several times for illegal uploads and some other topics, only receiving the short and conventional reply without the specific measures. And you are slapped by the same whip, i think.

            Thank you for the reply. Your releasing Anomie in physical formats is a great job.

        • Nope, we just don’t tend to post label’s bandcamp pages so we removed the link.

    • FolkvangrRecords

      Bandcamp does not allow us to sell only physical merchandise, so I have to include a digital version of the album. I set the price that high and include a link to the album’s page in the description asking that if you only want a digital copy of the album, you please support the artist directly. I am not trying to make money off of other’s work, just sell the things I help them make.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Thanks for clarifying.

        • FolkvangrRecords

          Glad to help, I get frustrated with Bandcamp as much as everyone else!

      • Philip Pledger

        Jeez, that’s obnoxious. I get that they design their platform specifically for bands selling their own music, but still. There are enough labels on BC that you’d think they’d program some way to better handle situations like this. Sorry for jumping on you so quickly. It’s not an ideal solution, but given the situation it’s not like BC gave you a better option…

        • FolkvangrRecords

          That’s ok, I completely understand the confusion. Just wanted to clarify that I am not a wacko and really just want as much support as possible to go directly to the bands. I have messaged Bandcamp about it before but they are pretty set in their ways, so I take the good with the bad and work from there!

  • R.Daneel Olivaw
    • Absolomb

      Or you could listen to it for yourself.
      Review scores aren’t set in stone, they’re opinions.

      • R.Daneel Olivaw

        also true.and this is what i am doing also.but when i read a review here my next move is to check the band in the Metallum.most of the time in the AMG there are bands that i never heard of so it’s nice to have a second opinion…..and especially one that really count.

        • And what exactly makes the opinions on Metallum “really count”?

          • The Akerstache

            They’re much kvlter than you.

          • Absolomb

            Everyone knows AMG are a bunch of poseurs. They probably don’t even listen to the albums they ”review”.

          • Drew Music

            The black background, of course.

          • Mollusc

            I can’t believe I’ve been reading the reviews here then forming my own opinions for so long when I should have been being told what to think by Encyclopedia Metallum.

          • sir_c

            Their score goes to 100

    • Jim Bob

      Honestly, AMG doesn’t hold a candle to Metallum. It’s the only source for the trvvvvest of the kvlt the spread the *correct* opinions.

      • Yes, we at AMG are merely trvvve.

        • AjmsaenZ

          Trvvver at best

    • Aidan Riess

      Their name’s in Latin, how can they be wrong?

    • There are 2 reviews listed there. One gives it a 90% and one gives it a 3%. Which one is the “trustworthy” review?

      • R.Daneel Olivaw

        none….and that makes suspicious the 4 in AMG!

    • Cherd

      Speaking of EM, I’d like to take this opportunity and thank AMG for having the good sense to design their site with black text on a white background. I get that a lot of metal is about pain, but so many sites think that has to extend to the physical act of reading about it. Also, EM is aggregate scores based on multiple reviews. One could say “reminds me of shakespeare” and another “this am turd balls”. You trusting both?

    • Nukenado

      EM’s score of Tetragrammacide is a 87%.
      Absolutely trustworthy.

  • ssorg

    Um… that first song is painfully reminiscent of a black metal cover of the Cinema Paradiso theme. Personally I prefer my sappy melodies in Italian tearjerkers, not my black metal. YMMV.

  • Nukenado

    “borders on a Platonic ideal.”
    “Atmospheric post-black”
    Ughhh… so conflicted.
    Not at home, so I’m unsure as to is this more melodic or ambient.

  • OzanCan

    1. Anomie
    bu dünyayı dinlemeye başladığımda When I’ve started to listen to this world
    oyunun eşit şartlarda olacağını zannettim I’ve reckoned the game’d be in equal terms
    tüm radyolar mutluluk frekansına bağlı All the radios are connected to the frequency of happiness
    masallara inanmak kendini yaşamaya zorlamaktan daha kolay Believing in the fairy-tales is easier to push yourself to live the life
    bitmeyen hayaller çığ gibi Unending dreams are like avalanche
    koparır tüm umutlarını kayaların üstünde Severing all your hopes from the rocks
    umutsuz çırpınışlar kendin kalabilmek için Those are the desperate flutters to be alone by yourself
    gizlenmiş tembellikler açlığı gidermez The hidden laziness’d not satisfy the hunger
    yücelt hastalıklı kabuğunu Glorify thy sickly/morbid shell
    ikiyüzlü gözerini kurşun ipliklerle kaparken While shutting your hypocritical eyes with lead threads
    besle hayalleri sessizliğin resimleriyle Feed your dreams with the pictures of Silence
    senin yaşamın tesadüfen yalan olarak adlandırılan zararlı bir alışkanlık Your life, which is accidentally named as a lie, is nothing but a destructive habit
    gizli kalan ahmaklık çürüyor yapışkan bataklıkta The hidden stupidity is decaying inside the slimy swamp
    tüm yıldızlar akraba, biz sadece bir tümörün parçasıyız All the stars are kin, we are just a part of a tumor
    irdelemeye çalışırken gökteki inancı When we’ve been trying to scrutinize the belief in the sky
    kendini kandırma artık durdurulamaz Do not fool yourself, now it is unstopplable

    2. She Spoke of Her Devastation
    kazıdı bedeninden hayali o She scratched the dream from her body
    koparırken kendi dünyasının bağlarını While severing the bonds of her world
    onun mor galaksisinde kış gelip çattı Winter finally has come to her purple galaxy
    ve artık daha fazla leylak kokmayacak And no scents of lilacs any longer
    o açtı bıçakla aşkını She spilt open her love with a knife
    sıcak damarlarda sakinliği bulmak için In order to find the calmness in her warm veins
    onun kendini imha süreci sadeleşti boşlukta Her self-destruction process has been simplified in emptiness
    sıkılan dişlerdeki acı kurtulmaya benzemez The pain in the clenched teeth differs from salvation
    o kayboldu umutsuz arazide She was lost in the gloomy land
    karanlık ve boşluk paralelleri arasında Between the parallels of darkness and space
    martıların çığlıkları bulutlu hafızalarda Screams of gulls in the clouded minds
    aşındırıyor ölçülü hiçliği Corrode the measurable/calibrated nothingness
    sivrilip çürüyen etlerde On the spiring decayed corpses/meats
    o ayakta tutamadı özgürlük hayalini She could not sustain the dream of freedom
    terkedilmiş gri koma enerjisinde In the abandoned gray comatose energy
    onun kalbinde zafer ölümü gerçekleşiyor In her heart the victorious death commencing

    3. Lovegaze
    seni seviyorum I love you

    4. My Journey to Your Space
    sonsuzluk kadar uzak As far as the infinity
    ve umut kadar yakın And as close as Hope
    o kadar soğuk So cold
    ve o kadar sıcak senin evrenin And so warm your universe (space) is
    uçsuz bucaksız okyanus gibi asi Disobedient as the endless ocean
    ve asilik kadar sakin Calm as the rebellion
    o kadar ayaz So frosty
    ve o kadar sıcak senin evrenin And so hot your universe (space) is
    ben o kadar şımardım ki senin hasretinden I got so spoiled because of your longing
    ve o nazik yakıcı kucaklayışından And your gentle yet burning embrace
    o kadar hayali So dreamy
    ama o kadar değerli… senin sınırsız evrenin And yet so precious… your universe (space) is

    5. Violet Girl
    konuş benimle bu kaos içinde Speak to me in this chaos
    nefes al kanayan boşluğumun içinde Breathe inside my bleeding emptiness/space
    özgürlüğün dağılır içinde kendi kendine Your freedom dissolves inside itself, by itself
    ben senin suretini ansızın elime aldım I suddenly took your face/ countenance to my hand
    benim gökkuşağım renksiz boyalarla kaplı My rainbow is clothed with colorless paints
    izin ver kokundan başka renk görmeyeyim Let me only see the color of your scent
    okşar nefesin yüzümdeki maskeme Your breath caresses the mask on my face
    ve dolaşır tüm damarlarımın içinde And flows in all my veins
    dünya hasta, ama o benim için bir hiç The World is sick, but she/he/it is nothing to me (“O”, in Turkish, means He/She/It. Usually a Turkish speaker will understand which is which depending on the structure of the sentence. However, in this line it is too vague so I couldn’t really decide which is which. Probably it means she since the title of the song is Violet Girl. But I’m not so sure…sorry :/ )
    biz bir yerde boğuluyoruz, bir yerlerde de yokuz. We are drowning somewhere, we really don’t exist anywhere as well
    benim kanım mor dere gibi akıyor I’m bleeding like a purple river/stream
    sen ortaya çıkana kadar güzellik insanlığın sadece hasta hayaliydi Until you come along, the beauty is a just sick dream of humanity
    cansız uzay boşluğundaki berrak mutluluk hapsolur hafızalarda The luminous happiness inside the lifeless vacuum of space is imprisoned in the minds
    harap olmuş sabahın esaretinde senin gözbebeklerinde ki karanlığa kadar bekleyeceğim Through the captivity of the devasted morning, I’ll wait until the darkness in your eyes become real (A total transliteration!)
    bu dünya sadece hezeyan – acı düzen sana doğru yaklaşıyor The World suffers only the delirium – the painful order comes closer to you
    faydasız, umutsuz, vurdumduymaz, aptalca, çaresiz, fikirsiz, unutkan, dipsiz uçurum beni durduramaz The useless, hopeless, emotionless, ludicrous, helpless, idealess, oblivious, bottomless pit cannot stop me
    Doğduğumdan beri paraşütle atlamayla uğraşıyorum Since I was born, I’ve been parachuting
    sana ulaştıran yeni yollar üreterek Creating new ways/paths to reach you
    senden önce güzellik sadece köprülerden sallanırdı Before you, the beauty was only dangled from the bridges
    dumandan felç olmuş zaman döngüsünde Paralysed by the smoke inside the time loop
    bütün felsefeler aniden alev alıyor All the philosophies suddenly burst into flames
    bizim aşkımız sonsuzlukta kaybolduğu zaman When our love is lost in eternity

    6. No Escape from Dreamland
    içimizde yaşama susamışlık var We have a life-long thirst in our lives
    ama zalimler bizi ölü görmek istiyor But the tryants want to see us dead
    bulduk uzun zamandır beklediğimiz özgürlüğü We have found the freedom at long last
    maharetle gizlediğimiz kendi uzay elbiselerimizde In our own space suits we hide vigorously
    yapay sıradanlığın ardında Beyond the artifical mundane
    nefes alır dünya düzenli bir tempoyla The World breathes with a regular tempo/pace
    biz ki uğur getirsin diye çalışıyoruz We are trying to bring good luck
    sirk şiddet eylemleriyle With circusy acts of violence
    bir sarhoşun şişirilmiş egosuyla With a drunken’s boasted ego
    biz savaş yeteneklerimizi sattık We sold our war talents/efforts
    şirin engelliler gibi çığlıkları kesiyoruz We cut the cries like the cute obstacles (“Engelliler” means either handicapped/disabled people or obstacles. So, I don’t think the artist means the disabled people because there is nothing cute about it. I personally admire the people with disabilities because, from what I’ve experienced so far, they don’t let their disabilites slow them down or anything and they are living their lives perfectly despite their disabilities, which is totally awesome and METAL m/)
    ayağımızın altındaki inancı yoklamak için To probe/examine our belief/faith under our feet
    tatlı köleler, gömülü askerler Sweet slaves, buried/sepulchered soldiers
    biz isteyerek boyun eğdik korku karşısında In the face of fear that we willingly bow
    bizim açıklanamaz ağlama isteğimiz Our inexplicable crying desire
    bu bir dünya – çıkış yolu olmayan bir rüya It is this World/ It is a World – a dream without a way out

    • Nag Dammit

      Erm, are you sure you didn’t transliterate a Eurovision compilation album?

  • Jack Outjers

    The review itself is poetic, let alone the album

  • AnnieK13

    Holy crp, a reference to Durkheim…wow. Haven’t heard that name since a graduate class in history of anthropological theory.

    Enjoyed the embedded track and great review!

  • Nag Dammit

    Time to hang up your spiked gauntlets of righteousness Steel.

    Get yourself over to Metallum and write some short, one sided and factually incorrect reviews of your record collection to regain your trveness.

  • Ironwood_Druid

    Durkheimian Shoegaze…Yes. That is all.

  • This has to be the poppiest black metal I’ve ever heard. The guy certainly has some talent, but some of this just makes me cringe. I listened to it on the train on the way to work this morning. I stopped after Lovegaze which I thought got to the point of just being too cute. It’s almost like the soundtrack for The Gilmor Girls* or corporate motivational music reimagined as black metal

    I don’t necessarily disagree with the score because it is what it is, but I don’t think what it is is for me.

    *I actually don’t know what this sound like… really.

    • ssorg

      this is exactly how I felt. melodies so trite and cloying that even disney would give them a pass. Not in my metal.

  • One More Thing

    This album is tremendous. Just cracked my Top 10.

  • Lou Daz

    Huge fan of this album. One of my favorite black metal releases of this year.

  • Leonmed

    Scratches an itch i did not knew i had!
    Im new to ambient black metal, but this feels like a AOTY material to me.
    This stuff is so easy to like, time will tell if this is grower or not.
    5/5 from me, for now.

  • Solrac Avan

    In a music world that refuses to acknowledge that bad things exist outside of not being popular or a heartbreak, is good to know that metal still has a desire to explore the darkest depths of the human condition