Vhöl – Vhol
From the start, I could tell that I would like this band. Black metal with both crust and power metal influences? Sounds fucking tits! And upon digging a bit deeper into the malaise that comprises Vhöl at its core, I’d found out that the drummer for Agalloch’s Marrow of the Spirit and Faustian Echoes, Aesop Dekker, was the drummer on this as well. And from the opening track, entitled The Wall, they simply did not disappoint. Let me tell ya why!
It’s still rather hard for me to put accurate words to describe what this sound they have is like. It’s heavy, yet light and organic; fluid in its execution, but still retaining heedlessness and chaos that makes it stand so far out that the only word that I can comprehend to interpret it is exclusionary. Hel, even classy works, but I’m only two songs into the release and I don’t want to play favorites just yet. But from what I’ve experienced thus far, this band isn’t about misanthropy or any nihil. Fuck, it sounds happy, especially with their track Insane with Faith. The riffing is just right with equal amounts heavy and with black metal flair, but at the same time it retains that same upbeat-ness from crust and power metal bands. And when they start with the shredding and solo work, it all comes together in such a unique way that I can tell they’ve been working very hard on this release. It sounds choice!
Damn it, Vhöl! I’m trying to remain objective and neutral here!
One thing I wish though was they had published lyrics. Besides the fact that I’d like to know what the vocalist is screaming, the track names are so off the wall, it really makes one wonder. Despite The Wall and Insane with Faith, we also have tracks named Plastic Shaman and Songs Set to Await Forever. And though they don’t sound overtly depressive in their nature, the music is so upbeat and melodious that I can’t imagine what they’re all about. Especially the track Grace, which sounds almost giddy!
Shit, even their logo looks giddy!
All in all, this release gives me hope for the future ov USBM. Not all ov it is depressive or raw shit, as Vhöl illuminated for me with this 7-track monolith to innovation and progress. I hope they plan on continuing to break new ground, because it’d be a terrible tragedy if they didn’t. Highly recommended for fans ov black, crust, and power metal!
Noteworthy tracks: Insane with Faith, Grace, Songs Set to Await Forever