Album Review:  Gavran — “Indistinct Beacon”

Bringing vast, passionate, doom-filled angst, Dutch doom/sludge trio Gavran has emerged with their sophomore album Indistinct Beacon.  Fairly new to the metal scene, the band’s debut LP was released in 2020 and their momentum has not ceased.  Continuing to develop a listenership, this release is sure to bring many new fans as these five immersive tracks are expertly crafted and executed.  With a vocal variety including raspy screams, haunting clean singing, as well as spoken word, the poetic nature of Gavran’s lyrics are beautifully displayed.  Doom riffs, palpitating drums with a bassline to match, and screams pack a punch while quieter moments contain echoing vocals and pensive melodies.  Each track expands and contracts with the weight of the music and the journey of Indistinct Beacon is something to experience and enjoy.

For those already familiar with Gavran, Indistinct Beacon pulls many of the same elements as the band’s debut but features less atmospheric and ambient moments.  This release is more polished and profound while still staying true to the band’s established style.  Gavran’s vocalist and drummer, Jamie Kobić, describes the themes of this release as “paralyzed by an always prowling suffering, embarking the waters, striving to reach the light seemingly far away and covered in the mists of ignorance.  Practicing, gathering, unwinding…”  This darkness combined with a (classic doom) track length of over nine minutes creates something deep, emotional, and cinematic.

Indistinct Beacon opens with “Dvorac” which was also the first song released from the album.  It begins with an unassuming electric guitar melody before drums are introduced and ultimately, killer riffs to complete this build.  Riffs turn melodic and sludgy while clean vocals are added.  About halfway through this opener, the thunder rings out and fades into nothingness before a reverberating acoustic guitar is heard.  The sludge vocals return, turn to ominous whispers, and then a single elongated scream resounds before the thundering instrumentals return and more harsh vocals ensue.  This track is mind-blowing and hands down my favorite on the album.  That memorable scream before turning another corner gives me goosebumps every time.  This rise and fall is exactly what listeners can expect when diving into Gavran.  

Another track that stuck with me is “Duhovi” which is the longest on Indistinct Beacon spanning just over 11 minutes.  It opens with another gentle acoustic guitar melody before Kobić’s meditative, deep, clean vocals take place.  The track eventually opens up with drums, bass, and electric guitar.  The gentle melody remains and the tempo is calm.  Cymbal heavy drums are showcased on this track and Gavran’s atmospheric roots are heard.

Gavran

Indistinct Beacon blew me away from the start and with every listen, my admiration for the album and the band grows.  There were many moments during that first listen that had my jaw dropping.  The clever compositions had me hanging on every note and the equally captivating lyrics amplified the listening experience.  There is nothing overly complicated about this album and that leaves listeners the space needed to properly digest each element, experience the full effect of Indistinct Beacon, and appreciate each of the three talented musicians in the band and their individual contributions.  Now that Gavran is on my radar, I will be following their journey and I am eager to see what they create next.

– Angela


Indistinct Beacon is available now on Dunk!records.  For more information on Gavran, visit their Facebook Page.

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