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Vrexiza – Vrexiza Award winner

by Justin Joseph at 23 August 2021, 9:52 PM

The Canadian Black Metal militia, VREXIZA deploy their first ever release in the form of a self-titled demo (“Vrexiza”), imbued with the tales and horrors of war and the stench that lingers, the demo is a compact 4-track weapon that is succinct and wastes no time showcasing the instrumental valor displayed on this release. Instantly the listener will take note off the raw production utilized here, for some this may be off-putting, however I found it rather effective in numerous ways. In my opinion low-fi production can be comparable to a double-edged blade, if used lazily without honing the atmospheric elements, the musical structure can self-implode upon itself, however, in the case VREXIZA, that primal, unpolished aspect can be used to enhance the ambience allowing the music to have more depth within every note, it essentially makes the sound breathable and the noise visceral, as such for a demo the spirit possessed here clings to each song and heightens the aura. Like a sword which steel has not been touched by the hammer of the black smith nor has it felt the heat of the forge, in a one’s hand it may seem like a slab of metal with a hilt, in skilled warrior’s hands, that same steel can be used to cave in the skull of his enemy, this is exactly how VREXIZA uses the muddied dissonance to their advantage.

The voice that commands the war takes various shapes but at its core, it employs the usual Black Metal register, the difference in this demo is that the tongue that spurts these verses is not tinged with a sinister nor somber feeling, rather it takes a more triumphant demeanor. The vocals paints an Image of a war-torn soldier with the taste of his blood within his mouth, his flesh riddled with bullets, as he grasps his weapon and feels the essence of life receding, he wishes not to die alone, but take the corpses of his enemy with him wherever his next journey may be. The track, “Iron Spectres” showcases this description with the melody that flows throughout the song in an up-tempo fashion which exudes the imagery of the solider seeing red in those final moments becoming possessed with the will to live. The melodic element fostered here is not only crafted by the vocals, but also with the aid of the guitars injecting the added substance with the tremolo picking involved as well as the variations used in the melodic structures. The track “Corpses of Fervor” , even though not melodic plays to the advantage of the discordant noises from the riffs, like the noise that clings to a battlefield with the clashing of weapons, so too does the guitars on this demo vibrate throughout.

Another positive on this demo is the versatility of the songs, since its only 4 tracks, the objective of this morsel should be enough for the listener to crave more and so it accomplishes that, even though the skeletal structure is built of a blend of chaotic and melodic elements there exist interjections of groove based Black n’ Roll patterns that exhibits the fine musical craftsmanship by VREXIZA. At no time do the songs feel like separate entities that are forced into a confined space, rather the rhythms flow naturally whereby the riffing would change sporadically from an up-tempo frenzied riff to a more striped down Black n Roll beat. An element which adds to this is the way the drums are mixed, the sounds emitted are rather crude and harsh, but the energy that is dispelled feels unhinged which accentuates the war-like feeling, the snares and blast beats feel like a barrage of artillery unloaded onto the bodies of the enemy. The raw production once again aids in adding a pulsating feeling to the drums, the track, “Vanitas I” is example where the varied drum pattern is implemented upon the varied song structure.

Overall I would recommend this demo to any Black Metal or Extreme Metal fan, sure the sound is familiar as its one that has been echoed numerous times by many others……but this should not be seen as a negative, for I look at it as the product that was reaped from the seeds laid in the soil by legends. Of course there will exist a multitude of similarities within other newer bands, but I prefer to view it as a fitting tribute towards the genre. For a band’s first release, this is excellent raw quality in the form of a demo. VREXIZA I wish you countless victories on the battles that lay ahead of the journey!

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

4 Star Rating

1. Iron Spectres
2. Hürtgenwald
3. Corpses of Fervor
4. Vanitas I
M. - Drums
A. - Guitars, Vocals (backing)
J. - Vocals, Bass
Record Label: Signal Rex


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