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Vulnere – Igneous

by Max Elias at 10 March 2021, 3:33 PM

The raw, piercing howls of the vocalist and frenzied blast beats that kick off the album on “Forced Relocation” give the impression of a Black Metal influence. There definitely is Black Metal involved in VULNERE’s sound, but there are more elements as well. The riffs are crisper and bounce around more often, and the occasional clean break injects an air of serenity into the music. VULNERE are best seen as a Blackened Death Metal band. On the much shorter “Course of the Sirens”, they demonstrate this, switching between simple chugging and atmospheric, dissonant melodies on a whim.

The riffing and instrumentation is dark and evil, but also very spritely and unquestionably alive. On “Of Sorcery and Compensation”, the shifting chordal and pedal tone riffs brim with vigor even as the punishment inflicted by the drumming reflects quintessential Black Metal turmoil. The shrill, cutting bark of the vocals fleshes out the contrast between crisp and frenetic elements. On “Succumbing of the Deceiver” there is a dissonant undercurrent of tremolo picked melodies that weaves around neck-cracking staccato riffs, and the same is true for “Subterranean Womb”. Incredibly sinister vibes permeate the song, especially during the haunting clean interlude. It’s one of the more progressive songs on the album in terms of the number of phases it goes through.

One thing Igneous – which is an interesting name, since there is no song by that name here—does well is transition between songs. The opening riff of one song always sounds related to the closing riff of the previous one, improving the cohesion when listening to the album straight through. “Subterranean Womb” and “And They Fall” could very well be part of the same song; though both contain multitudes of riffs and ideas, where they connect is similar. It makes sense that this is a strength, since the album was actually sent in to be reviewed as one continuous piece of music as opposed to nine separate songs.

The album has rather murky (but not too murky) production, which makes the guitars sound dirty and jagged but intelligible. That helps really cement the feeling of endless void that VULNERE creates. The dissonant tremolo based and other melodies are one thing, but it’s during the clean sections that the despairing quality of the music really shines through; good use of intervals and space is more effective than distortion any day.

The album closes with two shorter songs, “Granite Ziggurat” and “Descending Into Agility”. The former is a pretty much nonstop whirl of action, whereas the latter is peppered with breaks and heavy chugging. Also, “Descending Into Agility” throws in a short, steadily more intense clean section that leads artfully back into the main song. The riff that comes after the buildup is a favorite of mine.

Igneous is a good album for any Extreme Metal fan to listen to; if you enjoy bands that embrace dissonance but still preserve intent behind song structure and riff construction, VULNERE is one to be aware of. They also do a good job not coming across as a copy of their influences, and the songs contain enough variation and layers to justify listening more than once.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Musicianship: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Forced Relocation
2. Course Of The Sirens
3. Of Sorcery And Compensation
4. Succumbing Of The Deceiver
5. Subterranean Womb
6. And They Fall
7. Conjuration Of The Watcher By Way Of Three Sisters
8. Granite Ziggurat
9. Descending Into Agility
Mike Ashton – Guitars
Cody Pulliam – Drums
Mark Smith – Vocals
Spencer Linn – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 21 March 2023

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