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Vëlla – Coma

by Joseph Brewer at 12 April 2020, 11:20 AM

Coma” by VËLLA is one of those new age, experimental modern metal albums that has so much going on, both musically and conceptually, that it makes it nearly impossible to boil it down to one single idea. Post-Metal? Gothic Symphonic? Black Electronic? What if you were to take an artist like Marilyn Manson and drop him in with a bunch of musicians who have digested years of black, sludge, tech, and thrash metal and tell them to crank out an album that fuses all of their dark and wild tastes? These are the things that cross my mind on repeated listens of “Coma,” the debut album from a highly promising band, VËLLA.Coma” delivers an undeniably mercurial performance: constantly varying vocal styles, instrumentation inspired from countless genres, and a host of wild and memorable songs.

Blood on the Table” is an interesting opening track. Like lots of albums these days, “Coma” opens with a completely instrumental song. During the first pass through of the album, it probably won’t stand out too much. However, when I came back to it after listening to the rest of the album, I discovered that it was actually quite intriguing. “Blood on the Table” is essentially a folk tune, led by an exotic string instrument that I cannot identify. The song succeeds because of its inherent simplicity and the execution of a new and inviting sound. The folky melody weaves its way through the song and is accompanied, but not overshadowed, by a clean bass line, a soft drumline-esque beat, and what sounds like a choir. Overall, the effect is rich and bright and sets you on a different path for the song that directly follows it, “Tempest.” A much more aggressive track with a pounding rhythm and the varied growls to match.

Then, VËLLA crafts one of their most unique songs, “Mannequin.” A combination of styles from gothic metal to metalcore, they fuse it altogether in a dark, creepy, forceful track that juggles each piece deftly. Vocalist Pedro Lopes channels his inner Manson as he speaks to being used and abused, which raises to a screaming crescendo with the rest of the band each and every chorus. An excellent guitar solo kicks in after one such crescendo, keeping the frantic vibe energized before fading into the final verse of the song. Easily the most accessible and fun song on their album, which is why I’m sure they chose it for their first single and first video.

One of the strengths of the album comes from incorporating outside artists to feature on their songs. With such variety already in place they use their guests judiciously to add a specific flavor to the song or enhance a piece that’s already there. My favorite track with guest artists is “Tormento,” which features Ana Marques and Ariana Pererira. It’s a softer track where Marques takes the lead and sings beautifully in Portuguese which provides a melodic counterpoint to Lopes, who provides his deep death growl in English. It's a terrific song that provides a brief reprieve from the rest of the album while also highlighting the ability of the band to write a captivating song that doesn’t necessarily have to be aggressive.

I cannot state enough how interesting this album is. From track to track, there is a diversity of sound that will leave you intrigued and in awe. The whole band shines, led by Lopes, who can sing his way around psychological uncertainty and pure rage. The band can, and chooses to, shift seemingly midriff between aggressive metal, creepy gothic, and whatever other unhinged style they feel like performing. The downside to this is that the album feels a bit scattered. With so many ideas and so much technique poured into each track there is not anything strong to tie the tracks together.  But that I think that is a small price to pay for this level of creativity. Definitely worth a listen and I think several tracks from this debut effort “Coma” can stand the test of time.

Favorite Songs: “Blood on the Table,” “Mannequin

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Blood On The Table
2. Tempest
3. Mannequin
4. The Promise (feat. Miguel Inglês)
5. 1984
6. Despair
7. Tormento (feat. Ana Marques & Ariana Pereira)
8. Freak Show
9. 5 Minutes Alone
10. The Fall
11. Otherside
12. I'll Be The End (feat. André Ferreira)
Pedro Lopes – Vocals
Mário Rui – Guitar
César Craveiro – Bass and back vocals
Paulo Adelino – Drums
Oz Vilesov – Guitar
Record Label: Raising Legends Records


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Edited 01 December 2022

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