Without much prior warning, UK’s prodigal post-black metallers VOID kicked off 2011 with their sudden return to arms, after mysteriously diving below the radar after 2003’s close circuit-heralded Posthuman album debut. This electronically infused debut album, released on Samoth’s legendary Nocturnal Art Production, featuring vocalist Kvohst (who you know shortly after went on to CODE and DHG fame) showed signs of coming greatness, heralding a generation shift in the post-Black Metal “movement”. Why it was followed by silence you can read here. What made VOID special, the way I see it, is that they originated from the late 90’s, rather than the early; their earliest works built on the “2nd wave” bands who had already clawed themselves away from their corpse-painted christ-ripping youth to the experimental – and too often ridiculed by the true cultists – post-Black Metal masterworks of ’97-’01. Historically, VOID could fit perfectly as a “first 2nd generation post-Black Metal” band. But enough contextualizing and historicizing, it’s 2011 and VOID are back, with full force.
Released on Duplicate and Vendlus Records, VOID’s self-titled is a short, highly energetic burst of complete fuck-all attitude and focus. Streamlined, furious and unforgiving, Matt and his orchestra of adrenaline-bursting musicians fly through these 35 minutes as if there was no tomorrow. After the low-key ambient intro Cicatrix, the Alligator X-Ray track explodes, attacking you by the through immediately; a first tumbling part of this musical roller-coaster. VOID upholds throughout a stunning balance between groovy, experimental segments (Feral and re-recorded Cypher; heritage from Voivod through VBE & DHG), high-octane hardcore attacks (Exempt, Where Red Limbs Stir – even with gravity blasts!) and whirling beautiful guitar lines soaring amidst a flurry of blastbeats (Babylon, Ego Tranquilizer). The level of technicality is supreme, but never for it’s own sake, never in your face. Massive moshpit as well as hit potential here.
The album as a whole is held together by an immersing organic sound production; like a heavily well-produced demo (in the best way possible!) but still clear and massive, seemingly untrigged drums especially pulling you into it. Ben Lowe’s vocals are multifacetted; harsh roars and gnarling growls, sweet clean vocals, no messing around, ranging from pissed-off to even more pissed-off – he truly means it. And finding out about his tragic departure (read more in the interview) merely days after this album’s release, his performance is even more touching – extreme metal lost a great artist with him, and “Void” could hardly be a more appropriate and impressive epitaph.
One of the torches VOID carried in the beginning was the infusion of electronica into their Black Metal. The electronic and experimental segments are still left, but are now separated from the standard songs, as interludes and outros, leaving breathing spaces that make the metallic onslaughts even more daunting. The ending sections of tracks like Feral and Spectre are amazing chamber pieces based piano and strings, whereas Cicatrix and the outro of Where Red Limbs Stir represent more experimental and cinematic landscape explorations. Don’t let the “Industrial BM” tag fool you, this isn’t a bunch of Satanists going to a EBM nightclub, but rather a band of artists willing to explore, adapt and create what they see fit to their music.
What is most surprising about this album, is the power behind it. You would think a near decade of silence would leave this comeback dated, tired and uninteresting, but frankly, VOID are more current, vibrant and energetic than they ever were. The past years’ silence haven’t slowed them down, or made them grow old; rather the opposite. It’s like they’ve been waiting to gather up enough strength to blast their competitors away. I just hope that the unexpected blow struck to them in early January only make them more dead set to continue, and from the looks of it, that is what is going to happen.
Label: Duplicate Records
Avantgenre: Organic Post-Black Metal Hardcore Roller-coaster
Official site: http://www.facebook.com/VoidUK
Review online since: 16.03.2011 / 16:07:34