HenholdsvisWorld Terror Committee/ Shadow Records, 26.11.18
When two Swedish bands, both of which sort under the same letter, and who also have certain stylistic similarities, release their albums on the same date, it was tempting to try something new.
A joint review. Valkyrja is quickly becoming veterans. They hereby release their fourth album. Voodus is more of a newcomer, but has proven to be competent from the very outset.
Five years have passed since Valkyrja's previous release, The Antagonist's Fire. It was awarded a slightly weak five points in one of my early, Norwegian only reviews. Meanwhile, Voodus has entered the scene with their first two EPs NightQueen and Serpent, Seducer, Saviour. The latter band is finally ripe with their long-awaited debut album.
While the latter still seems to be a closely united gang, Valkyrja's core has never been 100% stable. Gone is both vocalist A.L. and his replacement RSDX. The vocal is in desperation fairly spontaneously taken over by guitarist and sole original member, S.Wizen (Hobbs Angel of Death, ex-Ondskapt et al.). Despite his reluctance and scarce experience, he still does a good job. In addition, A.L. contributes on the song Transcendental Death. Gone is also drummer Jocke Wallgren, replaced by V.Parri (Desolator, Isole et al.). Bass and rhythm guitar are still handled by V.Purice (ex-Ondskapt et al.) and B.Thelberg (Spazmosity) respectively.
As expected, both albums thunder of uncompromising, merciless and flaming infernal black metal. None of the ensembles perform exceptionally melodic extreme metal, but both have loads of loose melodies that dance frenetically in the flames. Valkyrja seems to emit the most smouldering profane approach this time. Voodus, on their part, has a somewhat more creepy expression with eerie moods. Albeit also they with an antagonistic glow. As they themselves sing: “It has never been this dark before”. Both offer songs structured by controlled chaos. A macabre involuntary dance to the devil's fiddle, till every involved foot sole are scraped to blood.
Valkyrja alternates between blistering tempo and vicious low-pace. Always with striking percussion, furious guitars and diabolical vocals. The bass performs its duty in a subdued way, while the guitar even reel off some solo-antics. The two Swedish bands are not all to dissimilar in nature. I dare claim that both have a touch of Watain in their expression. Voodus utilize vocals of a bit more low-frequency kind, leaning toward rasping growls. The bass is more prominent here, but not dominant, the guitars aren't quite as jagged, but very vital. The drumming is highly proficient, if not quite as militant as in Valkyrja's case.
Another similarity between these two albums, is that both are recorded and produced in Necromorbus studio. As always, Tore Stjerna has provided the music with red-hot hell-fire. When both bands provide solid material conducted with glowing instrumentation, wrapped in a fiery soundscape, there's no need to choose between the two. In my view, both deserve a solid five points. With that said, where Valkyrja delivers a bit fiercer black drive with occasionally breathless rhythms, Voodus delivers gloomy moods and stronger, more memorable melodies.
Throne Ablaze appears to be released in collaboration with Blut & Eisen Prod., and consists of eight tracks, one of which is an intro and three that extend from 7 to 9 minutes. While Valkyrja achieves a total playing time of just over three quarters of an hour, Voodus stretch slightly beyond the hour. Of the eight tracks that make up Into the Wild, distributed by Regain Records, two can be considered as intro and interlude. Five of the songs are long-lasting compositions ranging from almost 8 to close to 15 minutes. Rating: 5+
Both Valkyrja and Voodus has recently been interviewed by always meticulous Bardo Methodology. If I had read these beforehand, this review would probably have been more comprehensive, but certainly also more tedious.
Chapel of Disease are nevertheless still searching for their identity. And their quest has taken them back in time.
To a time before their original genre even existed.
The journey has, in a way, brought them back to the 70's, where elements from funk and hippie-psychedelia, but primarily vintage rock, have coloured their heavy tones. The only modern musical expression they've brought with them back in time, is an atmospheric post-touch. Dreamy atmosphere, minimalism and repetition has admittedly always existed in some musical form, but in association with extreme metal, the monotony of post-metal can be considered a relatively new (and not always very welcome) phenomenon.
This somewhat strange pot-pourri could probably have be successful, but when all these colourful items are mixed, they end up neutralizing one another. Despite a distinctive approach, a somewhat grey aura of doom metal is revealed. This becomes too much rockabilly-twist and stoner-doom, and thus too boring, for my taste.
...And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye ain't a bad album, but the music becomes a bit toothless and formless, much like the cover art. I'm sure there are those who will embrace this too. Personally, though, I am rather disappointed. Rating: 2+