OK let the namedropping begin: Agalloch, Worm Ouroboros, Hammers of Misfortune, Amber Asylum, YOB, and more. That was probably enough to get your attention, right? So Vhol first came into this world by the twisted ideas of John Cobbett and Aesop Dekker and their aim was to create a band in the vein of the unbelievable Ludicra after they ceased to be.
Still Vhol is not in any case just a continuation of Ludicra. Although there are some similarities in the sound of both bands, Vhol has a much rawer and almost, dare I say, primitive, old school crust vibe, with still some nice black metal touches to enrich their sound and even some old school thrash metal ideas thrown in the mix.
From the very start, The Wall,” Vhol is basically pinning you to the wall with their ferocious, old school black metal leads combined with a punk/rock ‘n’ roll attitude, with Mike Scheidt’s vocals perfectly suiting the music, from deep growls to a more high-pitched voice. Soon enough, the d-beats also come forth to give the album a further old school sound. “The Wall” becomes completely black metal oriented in about two minutes with sick parts on the guitars, before it retreats to a cleaner sound just for a while before it starts blasting away.
Even though that the record is quite extreme and aggressive you will still find melodic bits. The lead guitar parts about four minutes in “Insane With Faith” are truly outstanding, it is just really great seeing that the band does not contain itself and the members are not afraid to experiment with different sounds, the most impressive of which is found in “Arising.” Although it has the same crust air that prevails in the whole album, it has an almost electrified early Metallica (yup Kill ‘Em All era and no I did not just go insane—listen to the track and you will hear it too) groove going on, the high pitched vocals help a great deal and the leads on the guitars are definitely paying tribute to the ‘80s thrash scene with double leads and one solo following another—and if that was not enough, it even starts with a fucking a-la Celtic Frost “deathgrunt.” Do not know about you but I am as happy as I can get with that song.
Vhol are impressive throughout this record and what comes through to the listener is that every member in the band is seriously enjoying what he or she are doing, from the d-beats of “Plastic Shaman” (this sound a lot like a title that YOB would use) and the eerie black metal parts of “Set To Await Forever” all the way to the all-out crust assault of “Grace.” And if you are into what you are playing as much as the guys in Vhol are, then you are left with an album that is great, to say the very least.
9.0 / 10
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