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Vølus – Thrown to the Abyss

Thrown to the Abyss
by Savely Nevzorov at 09 August 2022, 9:21 PM

VOLUS (Vølus, actually, but let’s keep our Latin classic just for convenience) is a one-person Death Metal act from South Carolina, US. “Thrown to the Abyss,” released via Vargheist Records. It is the project’s second full-length album. In many ways, the defining power behind Death Metal’s exploration is the competition between the musicians. For many years it felt (at least to me) that the nature of this competition was somewhat limited to just making this music faster and more technical than before. However, VOLUS belongs to a relatively new but fast-developing school of Death Metal that I’m very much into. It takes the speed and aggression this genre is known for and wraps it into this specific sound that I can only describe as “moldy” or “sandy.” Coupled with non-trivial song structures, low extreme vocals and dissonant riff crafting this sound gives the music a sort of roomy feel and creates this ambient-ish under-the-dome-like effect that brings additional atmosphere similar to that of some Atmospheric Black Metal records.

I have a soft spot for dissonant music. It’s great to see musicians taking a more experimental approach to their harmonical preferences. Some people I know don’t like it because it sounds “chaotic” or “too complicated,” but I enjoy it precisely because this complexity increases a record’s replayability. There’s always this feeling that there’s something yet unseen (or relatively unheard) hiding behind the wall of reverbed noise. VOLUS does all of that and more. Exciting synths and almost Math-like “thrilling” grooves are placed here and there. The vocals are versatile, swinging between low and gutsy growling to Black Metal-like screams. On an artificial, non-existent, and delusional scale of “North American Moldy Death Metal” that I just made up. It lies halfway between TOMB MOLD’s “Planetary Clairvoyance” and the self-titled record by ARTIFICIAL BRAIN: More experimental and detached from classic Death Metal traits than the former but orthodox enough not to cause such “first-time shock” like the latter.

What else is there to say? It sounds excellent, contains some novel composing, interesting rhythmical decisions – the song “The Breathing Reflection” is perhaps the main climactic point of “Thrown to the Abyss” on that matter – and is highly well-performed. It’s heavy but atmospheric. It’s complex but intriguing enough to unravel. Even a relatively short playtime is advantageous because this record is very action-packed and otherwise would risk overwhelming some listeners. Those who will feel the urge for more after the record is over may give it another spin immediately.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Traverse the Arkhanspire
2. Immortal Ninth Tribunal
3. Antediluvian Watchers
4. Chronoblast Paradox
5. The Breathing Reflection
6. Black Flame of Purification
7. Temporal Pathways
8. Ascendance Incinerated
Justin Volus – All instruments, vocals, and lyrics.
Record Label: Vargheist Records


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