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Vorbid – A Swan by the Edge of Mandala Award winner

A Swan by the Edge of Mandala
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 14 November 2022, 1:36 AM

VORBVID is a young, fresh, and incredibly energetic Metal band from Arendal, Norway. In 2022 they have returned with even more technically challenging and intriguing music, stepping up the game and proving themselves worthy of a place at the Progressive Metal table. The new album has eight songs. “Ecotone” is the first. The beginning section is a flurry of Progressive elements and dissonant guitars and the vocals are throaty. The music isn’t without melody however and the band shifts through passages confidently. Every note seems to be in the proper place. “Union” begins with a really cool phaser in the guitars. The main groove is darker and more aggressive and the Progressive elements come through with a bossy attitude. The clean vocals are a bit of a surprise but work very well in the sound. “Ex Ante” is a ten-minute opus. It opens with a mellower sound with clean vocals, and the band shows their songwriting pockets are deep indeed. The mid-section is a little more dangerous but the melodies hang around. The instrumental passages are really strong as well.

The title track is another dark and aggressive offering with energetic and tenacious guitar and bass accents. The drums fit so well into the music that you forget they are even there for a few moments. Listen to the complexities in the music. “Paradigm” has dissonant riffing but also some subtle melodies. The aggressive passages will sooth the Thrash head of the family while the mellow passages sooth the Prog head. I love the combination here…it really keeps you on your toes because you never know where it is heading next. The lead break is fantastic as well. “Swansong” is a short little number with choppy accents that are hit perfectly by every instrument. Is this the band’s YYZ? I can hear some structural parallels to the RUSH classic.

“Derealization” is a heavier and more contentious sound but those Progressive accents are hit with deadly accuracy. Approaching the half-way mark, there are meaty bass notes and some tense backing ambiance with spoken words. Their sense of control in the instrumental passages are second to none. “Self” closes the album; an 11-minute opus. It’s mostly a dark affair but crosses into the path of light around the half-way mark. The leads are again, absolutely fantastic. One thing the band is not short on is musicianship. This culminating song showcases the band’s talent in that regard. Thrash Metal and Progressive Metal are almost an antithesis of one another, but today I not only learned that they can occupy the same sandbox, but they can also play together very well in a complimentary style. The songwriting and musicianship are masterful on the album.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Ecotone
2. Union
3. Ex Ante
4. By the Edge of Mandala
5. Paradigm
6. Swansong
7. Derealization
8. Self
Michael Briggs
Daniel Emanuelsen
Marcus Gullovsen
Hans Jakob Bjørheim
Record Label: Indie Recordings


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Edited 29 March 2023

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