Saturday, June 10, 2017
Volur : "Ancestors"
It is moments of discovery like this one that makes what I do so enjoyable, because I have to sort through tones of albums before I find one that is this unique.
This Canadian doom project features the Bass player from Blood Ceremony. Germanic chants coast over very melodic bass playing drivings the song. It takes a minute to realize that the Guitar is not sitting back it's actual the violin occupying the space a guitar would sit order to create the atmosphere. They have a very unique sound that drones ,but is so pleasing to the ears that it doesn't bore you. I know I complain about long songs all the time, but if you are going to do it then this is the way. Growled vocals come in but are not over done and do not plunge the song into lowest common denominator metal. The build that begins to occur toward the final three minutes of the song is lushly heavy with a yearning to it rather than just bashing you like a cave man.The bass steps on the distort to thicken things up in a manner more common for doom. The violin wailing over it is where the textures play to their favor.
There is an angular touch to "Breaker of Skulls". Breaking is the theme of this album as very song is a breaker of something. This is more overtly heavy with low growls leading into the song and the drummer throwing in some double bass. The song takes a darker more atmospheric turn into chaos. The violin's melodies pulls this out of the abyss. The arrangements are almost progressive in the classic sense not just throwing a bunch of changes at you for no reason. The solo that has a Pink Floyd feel is coming to you from the Violin as the bass is still anchoring this trio down here. The vocals take on a more hateful black metal like rasp as things continue to swell going into the song's final moments. The first two minutes of "Breaker of Oaths" is more melodic with things kicking in with the drums and ghostly clean vocals sliding in from behind. There is a Jesu like groove created with all of these elements in play. The violin solos on this album won't shame most classical players , but excel at recreating the phrasing of guitar. Dynamically things get heavier in what would have more of a sludge feel if this was guitar centered. It breaks all the way down to sung vocal passage and I don't think it matters if you like singing or not in order to respect what is done here. They do bring in the lower doom growl after this.
I was about four minutes into "Breaker of Famine" before I realized that is what was going on. They bust into a black metal section that I don't really feel plays to their strengths.Just because you can doesn't mean you should. They have another 11 minutes to redeem themselves in this 16 minute song. This turns into more of a gallop, almost a Children of the Grave type feel, but they are not into worshiping Sabbath like most doom bands. I can almost hear more old Pink Floyd influence than Sabbath. Aside from the black metal part in the last song this album is pretty close to perfect and while it came out to a 9.5, I think due to originality alone I can round this up to a 10.