Violet Cold is, according to its lone member Emin Guliyev, an “experimental one-man band from Baku, Azerbaijan.” Azerbaijan is a small transcontinental country situated where Eastern Europe and Western Asia meet, sharing borders with Iran, Armenia, Russia, Georgia, and flanked by the Caspian Sea to the east. You’ve most likely never heard of it until now, but with Desperate Dreams, Violet Cold’s first full length after releasing 24 singles and 2 EPs, Emin has burst through the doors of obscurity into the light. And what a beautiful, rapturous light it is.
It’s possibly due to Emin’s relatively unknown (at least within the metal scene) locale that Desperate Dreams is such a unique find within the saturated genre of post black metal. In the opening seconds of “La Petite Mort,” the album’s first and featured track, it becomes immediately clear that Mr. Guliyev is an extremely bold and gutsy songwriter. That major chord synth pop melody is one of the most joyous lead-ins to a black metal record you’re likely to find, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album with authority. These synth pop melodies and hooks are ever-present throughout all 8 tracks, usually serving as the centerpiece that holds the swirling chaos surrounding it in tact.
Though that description may be a turn off to the more morose among you, the synths on Desperate Dreams do nothing to round the sharp edges of Violet Cold’s ferocity. These black metal tracks rip and snarl, trying to claw their way to the promise of the shimmering euphoria to which those pop undertones elude, but ultimately falling short. Desperate Dreams is tagged on Bandcamp as “depressive black metal,” and despite an abundance of what could only be described as feel good moments, there’s an ever-present bleakness to these songs as Emin’s sorrowful screams betray the bright music surrounding him.
There is beauty in the existential struggle we all face as sentient beings. The daunting task of finding meaning, understanding ourselves, and ultimately surrendering to our own demise. Violet Cold has managed to stir that beauty to the top of the pot, if only for a brief 33 minutes, and asked us to consider this balance of light and shadow. The contrast and the interconnectedness of it all. The idea that even though we may always walk in the shadows, we are by definition never far from the light.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]