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In my eyes, God The Lux is the quintessential Vesania album. Clearly reflecting a band at their creative peak, its more focused than their previous release "Firefrost Arcanum" and far superior to the pedestrian "Distractive Killusions". The sheer brutality contrasting with the epic keyboards topped off with Orion's unique vocals makes for a grand listen.
The album is pretentiously laid out in a manner of several "movements" separated by a bevy of atmospheric instrumentals. The instrumentals do indeed add good substance to the album, even if there are a bit too many. My biggest qualm with the album is actually the 25 minute-long "Inlustra Nigror"; simply pointless. The 8 real songs average out to a bit over 4 minutes each, there is plenty of material to chew on here.
As stated earlier, Orion has quite a unique take on black metal vocals. His approach sounds almost like Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir fame, but with a few clean sections and a deeper, less raspy tone. Personally, I feel this fits the music very well, although many critics of the band tend to disagree. Orion and Valeo are quite the veritable duo on the six-string. Interspersed throughout the album are plenty of great leads. The opening riff in "The Mystory" comes to mind immediately, along with the thoroughly headbangable "God The Lux". Bass is, as always, inaudible. Heinrich puts on an impressive live performance, but his contribution remains mostly unknown.
The keyboards are what sets this band apart from the masses. Siegmar is as competent a keyboardist as I've ever heard on a black metal album. His haunting choirs make "Posthuman Kind" perhaps the highlight of the entire album. He promptly falls into the background on heavier songs like "Rest In Pain" and "God The Lux", preventing the over-saturation of the keyboards which is a common pitfall many symphonic acts fall into. Daray is a very skilled, inventive drummer, showing flashes of technical wizardry particularly in "Rest In Pain" that help raise the bar yet again.
Clocking in at around 40 minutes (excluding the 25 minute instrumental at the end), God The Lux is a modestly accessible listen; none of the songs drag on for unreasonable periods of time, and it features the band at their absolute best. Fans of symphonic black metal should start their journey with Vesania here.
Vesania – God the Lux
"Vesania" means "madness" or "insanity", and this album is insanely good.
“God the Lux” should be considered a landmark of Black Metal. It is a majestic accomplishment, and sits as one of the greatest Black/Death Metal albums I’ve ever heard.
The album itself is in three acts, divided by short instrumental parts at tracks 3 (Lumen Clamosum), 7 (Lumen Funestrum), and 10 (Lumen Coruscum). These titles roughly translate to “Noisy” or “Noise-Filled Light”, “Deadly Light”, and “Flashing” or “Flickering Light”.
‘Rest in Pain’ wastes no time, bursting right into the expected Black Metal blast beats. The electronic fuzz over the vocals makes an immediate mark on Vesania’s sound. ‘Posthuman Kind’ steadies the tempo of the album with a pulsing rhythm and more consistent keyboards supplying a dark ambiance.
After the first interlude, we are introduced to ‘God the Lux’, which could mean “God the Light”, or more likely “God, the Eye”. Shades of Sauron. This is a crunching and brutal track that clings slightly to the more melodic side of the opening tracks. ‘Synchroscheme’ and ‘Phosphorror’ continue this theme with thunderous double kicks and brooding keyboards.
Act 3, following ‘Lumen Coruscum’, dives into a more purely Black Metal sound, and reminds me of Behemoth more than anything previous on the album, but with the keyboards carrying the melody rather than guitar. Interesting side note, which I did not know until I began looking up some details for this review – bassist Tomasz Wróblewski (“Orion”) plays for Behemoth these days. So there you go.
The album finishes with ‘Inlustra Nigror’, which could mean “Clearing the Darkness”, “Lighting the Darkness”, or “Honoring the Darkness”. I guess pick your poison. Technically it should be "inlustro", not "inlustra", but they wouldn't be the first metal acts to misuse their Latin. Though listed as a 26 minute track, it’s actually mostly silence with just a short guitar/keyboard outro at the end.
There are albums containing song I like, there are albums that I enjoy in their entirety, and then there are albums that inspire me to research and track down everything the band has done. This is one of those. Fans of Black/Death is general, and especially fans of Behemoth, go get this album!
(They lost a point for the silence at the end, which is gimmicky and bugs me.)
Orion is not only a great bassist with Behemoth, he also proves himself a highly talented vocalist/guitarist/songwriter in his own right (nothing against Nergal at all, of course) in this project. I am not at all surprised that Behemoth could not contain his talent (he actually had this band going before he joined them) and that he still operates this band as an outlet for his own ideas. And what ideas the man has!
This is very much a "symphonic" black metal band along the lines of Emperor and maybe even Dimmu Borgir, only giving just as much attention to the heaviness and power as much as they do the orchestral keyboard bits. Those are in evidence but are nowhere near as overbearing as those two bands got with their use of such features. The polished production job adds to the overall industrial vibe, to me, as the sound is machine-like enough to imply this influence, especially the obnoxious "clack" of the kick drums.
Orion's vocals are heavily processed, industrial-sounding howls and roars that are intimidating, and his riffs are solid and strong (he only plays rhythm, no leads, though Vader guitarist, Mauser, chips in a sweet little solo on "The Mystory"). Vader drummer Daray puts on a stunning performance with lots of blasting and double kick thunder along with a plethora of tasty rolls and fills that makes me forgive his overly triggered drum sound. I can see why he was chosen to replace the late, great Doc in that situation. The songs are involved and involving too; they really pull you into Vesania's twisted little world. The howling vocals even manage to evoke some of that elusive Csihar Attila vibe that few can come close to, and that says something.
The material is by turns blasting fast, doomy, and epic-sounding, and many songs are worthy of mention (opener "Rest In Pain", "The Mystory", the title track, "Phosphorror", and the hair-raising "Legions Are Me" in particular stand out). The tracks are broken up with a variety of instrumental interludes that convey a variety of feels and are actually not half bad, but I prefer to skip them for the most part. Orion and company manage to pull off the rare feat of writing epic-feeling songs whilst absolutely fucking your shit up while they're at it, mowing you down with intense melody and insane fury, and even some memorable parts like the chorus parts of "Rest In Pain".
Orion is no joke, and this proves it. He is not just a sideman in Behemoth, he is a worthy and worthwhile artist in his own right, and while I love Behemoth and his basswork in that band, I encourage you all to give this band some love too. Seriously, pray that they tour America some time soon so you can see for yourself, and get this CD while you're at it.
This is, simply put, an excellent follow-up to "Firefrost Arcanum". It differs from its predecessor in many ways, though. I feared that because of Orion's duties in Behemoth and Deray's in Vader, Vesania would not be motivated enough to record anything interesting. But fortunately, this is not the case.
First of all, the comparisons with Emperor are not as obvious here as on the debut. Surely, some riffs ("Rest in Pain", "The Mystory") and the use of keyboards are still quite similar to what we can hear on Emperor's albums, yet most of the elements of Vesania's music cannot be so easily likened to Emperor any more.
The most striking difference, when compared to the previous album, is the production, which is less organic and more processed. This makes the album sound a bit similar to Anaal Nathrakh, yet here the riffs are far more distinguishable. Processed are also the vocals, which sound like a mixture between Anaal Nathrakh and Deathspell Omega to these ears (there are even Attila-sounding moans on "The Mystory").
The drums are very tight and do not resort to constant blastbeats. Overall, the drumming here is varied, interesting and technically impeccable. Due to the production, "God the Lux" has a certain 'mechanical' tinge to it, which took me some time to get used to, but in the end I think the compressed, artificial production works fine in the context.
The small interludes are still present in Vesania's music but they are not as atmospheric as on "Firefrost Arcanum". They are not offensive by any means, just more of a filler and do not attract much attention.
The keyboards are used mostly as a secondary instrument. Still, they do often play quite elaborate parts ("Synchroscheme") but mostly they are not high enough in the mix to really stand out (unless you are a keybords-in-metal-hater in which case they will hurt your ears even if they are barely audible). Sometimes the keyboards form a very atmospheric background ("Posthuman Kind"), sometimes they are very prominent ("Phosphorror").
The songs are well-structured and the riffs vary vary from quite melodic to rhythm-based ones ("God the Lux" with its 'industrial' opening). The transitions between these parts are very fluid. Overall, the album has a more compressed and less loose feel to it than "Firefrost Arcanum".
I have one major complaint about the album. What the hell is the point of including the 20-minute silence in the last track? It's neither original nor adds anything substantial to the album, it's just annoying and stupid. Same idea was passable on Ulver's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell", if only for its novelty a decade ago, here it is just completely pointless.
I recommend this album to people who don't fear things 'modern' in black metal. It's a great work from a very busy band.