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White Void – Anti

White Void
Anti
by Kenn Staub at 10 June 2021, 1:25 PM

Hailing from Norway, WHITE VOID embrace the absurd condition of human existence; its absence of direction and sense in life. Drawing inspiration from Norwegian black metal, chiptune, electronica, pop, and blues, the band has a style that’s difficult to classify. Fittingly, “Anti” (released March 12, 2021), based on the absurdism of Camus, is riddled with musical contrasts and references. To this end, WHITE VOID offer up a lot on “Anti,” comfortably changing styles and tones within tracks, all under the collective theme of disharmony between the individual’s search for meaning and the meaninglessness of the universe.

Though various styles are sampled, “Anti” has the overall feel of a metal epic, firmly drawing from the late-1960s and 1970s root sounds of the genre. In many instances prog is evident, particularly the way Lars Are Nedland and Eivind Marum blend keyboards and guitar in musical excursions. Despite being a mélange of styles, there is a certain degree of repetitiveness on “Anti,” which is, truthfully, hard to avoid when songs typically clock in at over five minutes. For instance, the use of an ethereal, echoey effect, particularly on Nedland’s vocals, seemed overdone.

The opening track, “Do. Not. Stop.,” is a harbinger of sorts, putting the listener on notice that WHITE VOID is going to be style-hopping over the span of a single track. Fortunately, despite change styles frequently, WHITE VOID does so in a fairly seamless manner that is melodic, if not outright catchy at times. Marum’s guitar playing is first-rate, whether as part of the rhythm line or soloing with the band underneath. He plays with a bluesy sensibility and does yeoman work over the course of “Anti.” Another highlight of “Do. Not. Stop.” is Tobias Solbakk’s drumming, which evidence a quality almost akin to jazz during his solo break.

There Is No Freedom But The End” and “Where You Go You’ll Bring Nothing,” tracks two and three, respectively, are darker than the opener. Marum demonstrates another commendable attribute in his playing, knowing just how far to take the guitar solo without overstaying his welcome. “Where You Go…” got my attention with an almost BEATLES-like interlude, a gently popish respite in the midst of tonal grandeur.

The Shovel And The Cross” is my favorite track on “Anti.” Unfortunately, I really can’t put my finger on why; there’s just something about it that struck a chord. Perhaps it’s the classic roots metal feel, perhaps it’s the tight rhythm, perhaps it’s the guitar work. I just don’t know, but WHITE VOID’s playing comes together for me here. “The Shovel…” segues nicely into “This Apocalypse Is For You,” which displays a fine melding of keyboards and guitar as mentioned previously. This teamwork between the two instruments is again evident on “All Chains Rust, All Men Die” Intentionally discordant at times, “All Chains Rust…” features another cracker of a solo by Marum, with solid drumming by Solbakk underneath.

There is a risk to playing a song that is eight minutes long. WHITE VOID take that risk on “The Fucking Violence Of Love” and come out on top. An operatic metal sampler of sorts, “The Fucking Violence…” shows WHITE VOID’s musicianship at some of its best; tight instrumentation, cool riffs, and an easy flow. The final track “The Air Was Thick With Smoke” is another sampler, albeit more of a foray into electronica. Power metal has its place in “The Air Was Thick…” and Marum’s solo made my ears perk up, his blues guitar drawing me in.

WHITE VOID gives the listener much to unpack on “Anti” and I’m sure I didn’t unpack it all. There is nothing that I really dislike on the album, however, with the exception of Marum’s guitar solos and those instances when Solbakk’s drumming comes to the fore, there is nothing that I really fell in love with either. That being noted, “Anti,” though maybe a little too heavy on the pomp and grandeur, is a solid offering, almost a take on the work of bands such as URIAH HEEP and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 6
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Do. Not. Sleep.
2. There Is No Freedom But The End
3. Where You Go, You’ll Bring Nothing
4. The Shovel And The Cross
5. This Apocalypse Is For You
6. All Chains Rust, All Men Die
7. The Fucking Violence Of Love
8. The Air Was Thick With Smoke
Lineup:
Lars Are Nedland – Vocals, Keyboards
Eivind Marum – Guitars
Vegard Kummen – Bass
Tobias Solbakk – Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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