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Volur - Ancestors

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 08 September 2017, 2:22 PM

The Ambient/Folk Metal trio VOLUR formed in Toronto, Canada in 2013. They release their debut album “Disir” in 2016, to follow up one year later with “Ancestors.” This newest LP contains four lengthy tracks, at about 53 minutes of total running time. From their Facebook page, they self-describe as: “Völur is comprised of three non-violent individuals who are actively anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-ablist and supportive of LGBTQ2 communities. We aim to celebrate a broad literary and cultural tradition amongst a global body of work.” I love this statement and fully support their openness! Whoever said Metalheads are not classy and concerned for one another? Indeed, this is actually one of the best things about being a part of this community. The four songs are quite diverse, unveiling a plethora of various sounds and elements to draw you into their world.

“Breaker of Silence” is an opening fifteen minute track. The song opens slowly, with chimes in a gentle breeze, and some vocal chants. Bass guitar and light percussion join in soon after, followed by guitar and vocals. The sound is very organic and ambient, as the bass guitar carries a lot of the melody. The ominous sound of doom is ever-present throughout, and the dual vocal parts, clean female and harsh male, are a nice counterpoint to one another. As the song moves along it gets more and more shades of grey—a nice building component. The violin carries a simple but effective dirge as well.  “Breaker of Skulls” is fuzzy and heavier from the start, staring into voids of the earth that seem impossibly low and black. In contrast to the opening track, it explores the darker side of paganism and earthy temptations. Some dissonance in the middle part of the track gives way to a more melodious passage. Towards the end, a crescendo builds with agonizing harsh vocals. The gamut they explore in this song is expansive…it’s like going through all four seasons of a year in one experience.

“Breaker of Oaths” starts off with dual strings in a cold embrace. It sounds like a weeping cello to me, though it could be the lower range of violin? Either way the comeliness of the sound is tempered by threatening voices in the wind. Bass and fuzzy guitars then join in, with the strings on the ultra-low guitar notes shaking in reverberation. Imagine if BLACK SABBATH had an ever harder upbringing in Birmingham…this could be reflective of that sound. The strings return with an even tougher resolve to turn your heart frozen. “Breaker of Famine” is a seventeen minute closing song that threatens to swallow the sun itself. After a long build-up of depression, the song explodes with fury around the four minute mark, and settles into probably the most structured groove I’ve heard on the album. Around the ten minute mark it drops off to just some solitary bass guitar notes, with clean vocals the echo around you. Picking up from there, it lumbers with the weight of atlas stones towards the end, capped off with the clean vocals and violin carried to completion.

“Ancestors” is really unlike many albums I have heard in the genre. When you talk about what you might find in the deepest hole of the earth, this could be that. At times it is excruciatingly despondent to the point that it promises to snuff out all light in the world. Other times the ambient passages draw you in with their alluring charm. One thing is for sure, it is uniquely theirs.

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

3 Star Rating

1. Breaker of Silence
2. Breaker of Skulls
3. Breaker of Oaths
4. Breaker of Famine
Lucas Gadke (Blood Ceremony) – Electric and Upright Bass, Vocals
Laura C. Bates – Violin, Vocals, Effects
James Payment (Do Make Say Think) – Drums
Record Label: Prophecy Productions


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