Völur – Death Cult [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Völur is a thing that I too nearly missed this year. The Canadian folk/doom trio received a strong recommendation from Akerblogger some years ago, and returned this year to unleash their third full-length, Death Cult, upon the Angry Metal Masses this past November. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and the album was never picked up for review. Now I’m here to rectify the issue, because as far as doom metal goes, Death Cult is one of the best albums I’ve heard in some time, and the single month its been on my radar has been one of the most doom-heavy months of my year. What does that tell you, dear reader? That you should lean back in your chair, hit the play button below, and let me spend the next three hundred or so words explaining why you want this album in your life.

Essentially, it’s because Völur play an avant-garde style of doom metal, with undertones of jazz, melodeath, and folk metal. On Death Cult, Völur sounds like what I imagine would happen if King Goat and Apocalypse Orchestra merged together and decided their music could stand to be gloomier than it is. The guitars do not dominate, nor do they crush the listener; instead, they unsettle, distort, and act as anchor for the vocals and electric violins that make up the true meat of the music. Lucas Gadke and Laura C. Bates share vocal duties, singing, screaming, and drowning the listener in pain. I would be remiss if I didn’t compare the former’s harsh growls to Jón Aldará’s (Hamferð, Barren Earth), and the latter’s violin work is key for the band’s melodic style. Behind the drumkit, Justin Ruppel offers a hypnotizing performance in an album where the pace is slow, methodical, and enrapturing. As individuals, the performances are strong — together, they feel unstoppable in their quest to rage and dismay.

One of the best things about Death Cult is that it’s about as avant-garde as doom metal gets. Here, Völur embrace their free jazz impulses, and the result is stunning, unnerving, beautiful, mystical, and different all at once. With only four tracks spanning fewer than forty minutes, Death Cult still offers more ideas, bigger catharses, and takes greater risks than most doom metal I’ve heard this year. Whether in the haunting choruses of “Reverend Queen,” the unnerving  distorted groove of “Inviolate Grove,” or the soaring melodies in “Dead Moon,” Völur offer a new take on a genre that doesn’t often see innovation while maintaining its dark nature.

Avant-garde doom metal from Canada. Do I really need to say more to pique your interest?1 Völur and Death Cult are things I’m grateful I didn’t miss this year, and so, in lieu of the proper review I wish I’d written for them, let me just say that I highly recommend that you check out the twisted, barren landscape that is Death Cult. This album is a stunning journey, and Völur makes for an exceptional guide through the desolation.

Tracks to Check Out: Come on, it’s a four-track album. Fine. “Inviolate Grove,” “Reverend Queen.”


Show 1 footnote

  1. I think you’ve already said too much. – Holdeneye
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