Initially, I was going to listen to Nature Stays Silent in order to prepare myself for Cân Bardd’s newest album “The Last Rain”. I felt like I never actually gave their debut a fair shot, despite having quite strong opinions on it. To me, it was just a shitty Saor ripoff, and I could not understand all the praise it was getting. I wanted to go back and see if maybe a more focused and fair listen could help me change my mind. Unfortunately, my criticisms have stayed mostly the same, however the severity of them has lessened quite drastically.

While yes, this really does read as a more boring Saor copy, there’s enough influences from other bands from the sameish scene (such as Eldamar), that it doesn’t feel like a total copycat album. There is a very distinct trade of technicality that Saor exhibits that Cân Bardd completely rejects. I like to think of it as a more distinctly celtic sounding Lustre with a more ambitious atmosphere.

The length is a problem still, but even though the tracks are long winded, the entire album is so damn easy to listen to that I’ve come to accept it for what it is. Nature Stays Silent is in my mind, more of work of decent background music than a well thought out and constructed work of art. And frankly, as much as I can throw criticisms at it, there’s nothing really wrong with that.

Honestly the only major criticism I have on this album upon further listening is that it functions TOO much like background music. Unlike other ambient albums with textures that move and change like a journey, or use repetition to initiate a hypnotic trance in the listener, this album seems to be content on essentially crafting the same song for 70 minutes, and while that song is easy to listen to, it doesn’t justify it being repeated over and over again.

I completely understand the appeal of this album, it has some very pleasant sounds, and elicits some very assuring and inspiring emotions in me. I think as a part of a spotify playlist this would be a nice addition, as something to listen to while doing something else. However on it’s own merits, I fail to see how this album managed to shoot up so hard in popularity last year as compared to many of the other atmospheric black metal albums that were released, many of which had very similar ideas and structures. Nature Stays Silent suffers from a distinct lack of personality and diverse sounds, but there are definitely far worse ways to spend even 70 minutes than listening to this album, assuming it’s not the only thing you’re doing for that time.

5.75/10

CW: it’s on Northern Silence, has some paganish dogwhistles. Nothing serious, but just keep alert.

BUY: https://canbardd.bandcamp.com/album/nature-stays-silent