Vorum // Poisoned Void
Rating: 3.0/5.0 — Poisoned by legacy
Label: Woodcut [EU] | Dark Descent [US]
Websites: vorumdeath.com | vorum.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/vorumdeath
Release Dates: EU: 2013.01.25 | US: 01.22.2013
Back in 2009, Finnish death metallers Vorum produced what I think is probably the finest EP ever written. At twenty minutes long, Grim Death Awaits is a veritable tour de force of the kind of evil, heavy-but-groove-oriented death metal with an old school feel that so many bands have tried to imitate but never really could. The riffs were razor sharp, but there was a fiendish furiousness and seriousness reminiscent of the most orthodox of black metal bands. Few songs on Grim Death Awaits peaked longer than 2 minutes, and while some reviewers complained about certain aspects, this was death metal of a pure, distilled form. Twenty minutes of death metal perfection.
Regular readers of Angry Metal Guy know that what generally happens after a band produces a record that powerful is the inevitable disappointment, and I admit it: Poisoned Void is not as intoxicating and perfect. The writing is not as good; the songs aren’t as sharply written and condensed–stretching so long as nearly 8 minutes on the epic title track, the riffs are less hooky, less pounding and the length means that it’s not an experience akin to the ritual pounding that Grim Death Awaits gave to the willing (or unwilling) listener. But Poisoned Void is a grower. It’s a record that introduces the basics for you in the beginning and lets you come back and get the feeling for it. It’s about the atmosphere and the crushing air, not just aural assault.
Not to say that there aren’t riffs galore and late-80s/early-90s death metal solos á la Vader or Krisiun to whet your death metal palate. Indeed, this record more than Grim Death Awaits relies on the almighty riff to hold tracks together; from the opening strains of the pounding “Impetuous Fires” to the epic fade out of “Poisoned Void” every song offers up trem-picked razors (“Rabid Blood” or “Evil Seed” both stand out) with the occasional doom-laden riff rearing its slothful head on tracks like “Thriving Darkness” and “In Obscurity Revealed.” Stylistically, the blackened nature of this record is reminscent of Ofermod or Vex, driven by blasts and trems. Dynamics on this record are less obvious than they were on the previous material, though. Missing are the obvious references to Asphyx or Hooded Menace; the Bloodbath groove is all but missing, instead replaced with a black metal fervor.
Where the band is the most anonymous is probably in terms of the vocal approach. While vocalist J.J. is competent, he never shows off the kind of dynamism that will carry a record. Instead, he lets his mid-range death metal vocals sit simply back in the mix and fill a rhythmic function; delivering messages of evil, death, and one assumes other things that are befitting of a black and white record cover. On the other hand, the mix is fantastic. One of the things that I am currently enjoying about this resurgence of “old school” death metal and retro-metal is that we’re in an era where we have great recording techniques and good studios can mix albums without replacing drums and still have everything sound good and it in its place. Here, while the bass goes missing (duh), the guitars are thick and kazooey and the drums are mighty as fuck.
Even with the more unfocused writing taking some of the air out of these grim, black sails you should check out Poisoned Void. As a death metal fan – particularly with a taste for evil and blackened death – this is for you. It depends on what you want from your metal, but if you’re into shit like Vastum, Desolate Shrine, Corpse Molester Cult, Vex or Necrophobic this might stuff be up your alley. Pick this up and see what you think, but head out and find Grim Death Awaits, because it will cure what’s ailing you.