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Vargrav - Netherstorm

by Clarissa "Wulf" Wright at 26 February 2018, 7:48 AM

Hailing from Finland, VARGRAV is a one-man band which began in 2015, now share with us what is described as ‘a blizzard-blown blast from the ancient past' in their release of “Netherstorm” which came into being on 26 January this year. Said to echo on aspects of the early EMPEROR, DIMMU BORGIR, ABIGOR and LIMBONIC ART, having had a listen to this album, I could pick out a great amalgamation of these influences.

The first track, “Netherstorm” has curiously mysterious keyboard effects in the beginning, adding tension and mystery of what is to follow. After a couple minutes in, the full band invades in all its glory with strong and energetic expulsions of fury and melancholy, particularly from the echoey high-pitched rasps of the harsh vocals.  “Shadowed Secrets Unmasked” is melodic in parts, particularly in the tremolo guitar chord changes. Deeply atmospheric and raw, this song is dense and really builds up towards the end, incorporating only subtle symphonic sounds that add momentum to the emotion in the song.

“Limbo of Abysmal Void” begins with a thought-provoking, airy guitar riff, which repeats while drums create an expansive background that sets the stage for the powerful vocals to take the spot-light. Blast beats and distorted guitars make a perfect background for the vocals here. Some experimental distortions on the guitars coincide with slight choral synth sounds that highlight a few high notes.

“Ethereal Visions of a Monumental” begins somewhat more mysteriously, with some spaced out sounds, of abstract synth and spots of female vocals. The full band bombard in full with a storm of dark atmosphere and energetic distortion.  The intertwining of more silent, spaced out synth-y breather moments add edge and a roughness to the flow of the song, like jagged rocks undulating across a mountain expanse. In “Obidient Intolerant Ensnared” the use of these spacey moments really adds impact, taking on full minute in the intro of the song, and adding to the climax of the song as we dig into it, giving power to its doom-laden atmosphere.

VARGRAV offer a storm of dense and dark atmosphere in “Netherstorm” which its intensely energetic enough to bind your attention. I found that the songs flowed well and were packed with a spectrum of emotions, particularly in the harsh vocals, emitting out whirlwinds of atmosphere. I highly recommend that fans of all sides of black metal check it out.

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

3 Star Rating

1. Netherstorm
2. Shadowed Secrets Unmasked
3. Limbo of Abysmal Void
4. Ethereal Visions of a Monumental Cataclysm
5. Obidient Intolerant Ensnared
6. In Divine Embrace of the Dying Light
7. The Glory of Eternal Night
8. Ancient Queen (Emperor cover)
V-KhaoZ - All Instruments and Vocals
Record Label: Werewolf Records


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