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Vahrzaw - Husk

Vahrzaw
Husk
by Jon Conant at 23 April 2018, 2:55 AM

Who’s ready for some black metal with a little bit of attitude? Hailing from Australia, VAHRZAW are back with their third full length release, “Husk.” While this is only their 3rd full length release, VAHRZAW have been around since 1995, releasing a smattering of EPs and split-EPs before debuting their first full length, “Defiant,” in 2009. “Husk” is fairly traditional black metal in terms of the usual dark aesthetic and anti-religious lyrics about life and pain, but the music explores new avenues and does not allow itself to be pegged down to one genre as much as their visual and lyrical styles do.

We hear tons of death metal influence hear, with chugging riffs that are based on quick tempos and some breakdowns. We also get solos that are soaring and epic. Both of these things are fairly uncharacteristic of the usual black metal scene, but they are blended together very well into a pleasantly cohesive sound. We also hear a musical ebb and flow, they have multiple ideas on each track and segment them out into noticeably different sections, but still tie it all together into one complete track. That is a sign of veteran songwriting, and really does elevate the music to a higher standard and level.

My one big criticism of the album is the middle does stagnate a bit and kind of mesh into a similar type sound. One tracks 2 and 3, “Fiends in the Aether” and “Black Night by Firelight,” we hear lots of different things being tried. Variety in the chugging riffs to thrashy dissonance backed by the howling screams, with black/death/thrash all being contrasted and put on display. Through the middle of the album, particularly in tracks “The King in Yellow” and “House of the Red & White Lions” things get a bit more uninteresting, with the band falling back on the typical filler sounds to get through a track. Not a whole lot of new being presented here, so you have to be really into the concept this album is aiming for to vibe with it. It’s not bad by any means, just a bit disappointing after the blistering hot pace the album started with.

Album closer and title track “Husk” is potentially my favorite, and does a good job ending the album on a strong note. The first half of the tracks is lightning fast with the classic black metal sound I like to refer to as “chaotic dissonance,” but then in the second half of the song we hear them drop into a bit more of a melodic groove. It’s dark, catchy, chunky, and provides plenty of variety.

All in all, this is a solid black/death metal entry from these crazy Aussies.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:

1. The Traveller
2. Fiends in the Aether
3. Black Night by Firelight
4. The King in Yellow
5. The Epitaph of Garmonbozia (Parts I & II)
6. House of the Red & White Lions
7. Kneel Kiss Kill
8. Husk

Lineup:
George van Doorn - Bass, Vocals
Scott Williams - Guitars
Brandon Gawith - Drums
Record Label: Blood Harvest Records
     


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