AMG loyalists may recall my review of Vyrion‘s debut way back in late 2011 and how impressed I was by this unheralded upstart act from Australia. If you missed that review or drank away the memories thereof, Vyrion plays a fairly progressive style of black metal with post-rock, melo-death and traditional metal influences. The material on their eponymous debut effectively blended these disparate styles into some really impactful and memorable moments and left me wanting more.
While they are working on the next album, they’ve been slowing leaking teaser tracks via their Soundcloud page. This new material has all the elements I enjoyed on their debut and points to good things to come. It’s raw and brutal, but features enough progressive ideas to shake off the dreaded black metal doldrums, and their knack for powerful song writing remains intact.
All four tracks are lengthy (seven to nine minutes), but the superior writing prevents them from feeling long-winded or repetitious. “Apex” flashes ripping black metal, but shoehorns in bleak, post-rock angst, doomy trilling and semi-clean, despairing vocals. “Pit” offers a pleasingly oppressive blackened rumble that erupts into brootal death and adds weird chanting moments for an ominous and creepy vibe. I also enjoy the funky bass lines that float in and out. “Sol” incorporates a slightly epic feel to the riffing and touches on the outer rim of Viking metal while also adding segments of Altar of Plagues style cold, remote droning.
The standout for me is “Tempest,” which thunders along in a traditional black metal rage, but blossoms into more melodic Agalloch-esque moments. It also includes emotional, clean singing segments that remind me of Vintersorg and some of the excellently hoarse, rough singing I loved on the debut. These vocal variations really shake up the song’s flow in a good way and stick in the mind.
The production is a bit rough around the edges and the reverb-heavy, cavernous sound of the debut is still present, but dialed down a tad. None of the sound issues are severe enough to impede enjoyment though and for self-produced tunes, these are above average.
I’m happy to hear new material from these guys and really looking forward to getting the complete album in my greedy paws. In the meantime, these tracks are a great tide-over and well worth checking out for those looking for quality black metal with some new ideas mixed in. Watch out for this band!