A solo project by a guy named Vladimir, Sivyj Yar's lyrical and conceptual basis lies in the hardships of Russian peasantry in pre-modern Russia. The famines, living of and working on the land, all of it in harsh weather conditions. It's an interesting concept, that sadly is not really reflected in most of the music and melodies. Most of it sounds pretty upbeat and hopeful to be honest. I'm not saying that those peasant folks were miserable people all of the time but the fact that I don't have any translated lyrics with my promo doesn't help matters in this. I just have the music to go on..
And while the music is pretty nice, one cannot help but feel that 'Burial Shrouds' lacks a bit of an own identity. Vladimir is a very accomplished musician and the album has a lovely production, with room for all instruments to shine. There is some really great bass guitar work for example, an instrument that is often overlooked within black metal. Another thing that bothers me is the lack of traditional folk music influences. The concept lends itself perfect for that, and the album does have several parts that breathe the atmosphere of what life would have been like for those people. Take for example the final track 'The snow shall fall a long while' where all the elements, including a lovely folky outro, fall into place, making it the standout track of the album. It's a shame then, that the rest of the album doesn't live up to the greatness of that track. Giving it more of an own identity would have made the difference between an album that is nice and pretty okay and an album that is truly great.
I'm sort of torn between two opinions here. On the one hand 'Burial Shrouds' should easily appeal to fans of the bands mentions earlier, on the other hand it lacks identity to truly stand out among those bands.. There is nothing wrong with the album but it could have been so much more.