Release DetailsLABEL Paragon Records
RELEASED ON 4/13/2007
Into The Chasms Of Lunacy
posted on 7/2007 By:
While death metal and hardcore might be dominating 2007, black metal is also leaving its mark here and there as well, as evidenced by blackened Hungarians Vorkuta, and their despondent Paragon debut Into The Chasms Of Lunacy. While not quite as densely smothering as Urna’s Sepulcrum MMVI, and not as morbidly eclectic as The Ruins Of Beverast’s Rain Upon The Impure, Vorkuta respectably set a truly hopeless mood which radiates with the sometimes white-hot heat given off by many French and American black metal bands.
The first few moments of brief trudging opener “Warriors Of Past” give clear indication as to what Vorkuta have planned for us. Sounding barely-equalized through much of the disc, the drums dominate the mix only slightly more than the vocals, and during some songs the guitars all but disappear momentarily (the fastest parts of “My Flaming Soul”). In this instance it’s admirably executed since the material calls for a sometimes smoldering sort of presentation, and “Stardust” is a fine example of how Vorkuta can create a mood with earthy keys and graceful atmosphere without bringing a complete sense of ease to the listener despite a more reserved approach. The clean opening to their namesake track harkens doomy elements of earlier Katatonia which aligns with a conservative but noticeable amount of bare progressive influences, and the prevalent use of bass guitar as a spotlight instrument during various parts was refreshing to hear by being so bold. Blizzard’s vocals are mostly croaked in an inhuman yet decipherable style, and do take a little getting used to at first, but there is a switch into a mid-ranged rasp to break things up before they get too monotonous.
Actually, this whole album takes some getting used to, and not just at first, but only after a half-dozen concentrated plays does it begin to click with me. At first there appears to be very little to behold, but once the restraints of the production begin to make sense in comparison to the music, the rattle of the snare and the buzz of the rhythm guitars become more tolerable. This isn’t to say forcing yourself to listen to it will reveal genius, but the burning minimalism that enhances the music on …Lunacy is sometimes a deceptive cover-up for the small, and somewhat muted pivotal moments where ear catching melodies suddenly go from transparent to subtly textured, like during closer “Within The Forest Of Melancholia”.
Even if this album doesn’t leave as lasting of an impression as other expansive, doomish black metal discs, overall it’s done very well, and never really drones or causes my eyes to glaze over. However, it also doesn’t really establish itself solidly as something that demands repeated casual listens since there are only a few sparse moments that really make an impact or put forth a consistently intriguing melody, vocal, or riff even after multiple spins. Far from poor, but not quite in the upper echelon of releases this year, Vorkuta satisfies and lays out some pretty good stuff that is at least worth checking out, and worthy of respect.
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