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The Voice of Destruction EP is a lesson in appreciation of transition.
On "Black Cathedral" and "Bloedrivier", the band is unabashedly thrash with only a few mellow moments thrown in. This EP however, is what highlighted the doom in V.O.D which had previously been trampled underfoot by all that madman riffage and insane poundage.
Opener "If I Had A Soul, Part 1" is a very evocative song. A gloomy clean guitar riff opens the song accompanied by Diccon Harper's haunting bass. The riff quickly moves into distortion bringing forth the crashing barrage of Paul Blom's drums and Francois' barking vocals yet the shambling tempo remains undettered. Until about 2:25 that is, when it all comes undone devolving into a psycho-brutal thrash attack reminiscent of Strapping Young Lad circa "Alien". The main riff immediately returns for a short while before Harper starts noodling on his bass, his notes given ambient clarity to back Blom's distant whispered mumblings about "disembodied pain".
Part 2 of the same song starts off with a distorted riff that was played cleanly at the close of Part 1. This is a much weirder V.O.D that fans of their meatier material would take eons to adjust to. "Part 2" plays around drastic tempo shifts-moving from wailing, quiet doomy moments to tempestuous thrash-but the brilliance of this progression is Paul Blom's drumming which never falters. The lyrics and vocal delivery is more aggro but given a gloomy twist by Francois' bass deep wail which sounds abysmal. Worshipers of Celtic Frost would love this.
"Jou ma se poes" comes soon after and sounds like a bad Venom song. A minute later, they introduce background noise that sounds like shouts of randy young men at an inititiation ceremony somewhere in the wilds of Swaziland. The riff is helped immensely by the ever dependable Paul Blom's punky pounding.
Closing song "Needledive" possesses one of V.O.D's best riffs. It has a melodic texture but is insistent and rapid, given brute power by Paul's vehement poundage, pretty much like Mastodon's "Blood and Thunder" main riff.
This song was later re-recorded for the "Bloedrivier" album. Highly recommended, by the way!
I am, of course, a huge Voice of Destruction fan but you don't have to be to enjoy the progressive brilliance displayed here. Even when it sounds like they're falling apart, the songs are saved by a taut rhythm section and consistent, flawless drumming. The vocal delivery is gloomy and grim but also unserious and freely expansive. Listen to this first and then plonk on "Bloedrivier". The two nicely complement each other.
This is the self-titled EP by South African thrash metal band, Voice of Destruction. Despite this being released on a big label, there were only 2000 copies released, probably due to the taboo nature of the music at the time. VOD have a cult status among young and old South African metalheads, and are frequently called the greatest South African metal band of all time. Despite the low production quality and inconsistency of this EP, it’s not hard to see why.
The album starts out slow with If I Had a Soul (Pt.1), the weakest track on the album in my opinion. The track is heavy but is slow and uninteresting for the first few minutes, then it speeds up and gets better, only to slow right down again into a boring outro. This is where If I Had a Soul (pt.2) kicks in. This is by far a better song, and marks the end of the mediocre part of this EP. If I Had a Soul pt.2 doesn’t have any of the boring parts that pt.1 had and has a slight doom feel to it. I think if VOD had combined these 2 songs and mixed the interlude parts that made up pt.1 with some of the faster parts of pt.2 they could have made a great 2 part song, instead of making one crappy part and one much better part. The next song is a much faster song and only 1:42 long. This song is completely different from the first two, and reminds me very much of a grindcore song – its fast, short, and vulgar. This is probably my favourite track off the album, showcasing what the vocals could have been. The last track on this album is probably the most well-known of them all and even has a music video. It has a memorable guitar part and, apart from If I had a Soul pt.2, is the most technical song on this album. Overall, this album reminds me a lot of Among the Living-era Anthrax.
The most notable thing on this album is the excellent bass work. Right from the first track the bassist makes his presence known, reminding me of greats like Frank Bello and Steve Harris. I think the bassist alone could earn this EP an extra 5%.
The guitarist is no pushover himself, and there are crushing riffs with interesting leads spread across the album, most notably on Needledive. The drummer also shows great skill, blasting here and there (not too much, for once) and playing appropriate fills and not just riding the double bass throughout the album - a worthy drummer to compliment the incredible bassist. Now, the vocals. The vocals, to be quite frank, are quite bad. The exception to this is Jou Ma Se Poes, where the vocals are quite good and very fitting. However, on the first two tracks, the vocals sound like a hardcore singer attempting death growls, which turns out bad, and the bad layering doesn’t help, either. Needledive is basically the middlepoint for the vocals on this album. The vocals are still pretty bad, but they sound slightly better clean, and are implemented better on this song.
Even though I won’t argue that this album might be thrash, I don’t think that it’s just straight up thrash. When I think thrash, I think of Megadeth, or Ride the Lightning, or even Slayer. This doesn’t sound like any of that. This album contains many influences from other genres such as doom (on If I...), death (If I... and Needledive) , grindcore (Jou Ma Se Poes), and trad (Needledive).
While I must agree with the previous reviewer about the production of this EP, I don’t think production is a valid reason to write off a band. The only gripes I have with this album are the vocals, which I’ve already discussed, and the inconsistency. This album goes in 3, almost completely different, directions. I think if VOD had tried to develop one certain style instead of trying to be several things at once, this would have turned out to be an incredible EP. Nevertheless, this is by no means a bad or even mediocre EP, and you certainly don’t have to be a hardcore fan of VOD to enjoy this.
This very hard to find four song EP from Voice Of Destruction showcases some talent, but also presents a really poor execution. or in the case of the last track, "Jou Ma Se Poes", a demo track. Given the band released only demos and was involved with a split release, one would imagine they would bring out some fresh material due to being on a bigger label, even if this was limited to 2,000 copies. But, instead, it looks like this was aimed at the die hard Voice Of Destruction fan.
"If I Had A Soul (Part 1)" is a well performed track, but definitely leaves a lot to be desired. The song goes from a slow pace to a faster pace right at the end, and then reverts to the ambiant noise that started the song. However, this songs winds up pale in comparison to "If I Had A Soul (Part II)", which is the only really entertaining track on this release. While the flow of the music is similar to "If I Had A Soul (Part I)", it's not filled with ambiant noise that has no point of being there in the first place.
"Needledive" has some decent music, but really just sounds like the vocalist was singing into a microphone made of tin foil, as well as has a terrible production quality. The only other decent song on this release would be the demo track, "Jou Ma Se Poes", which is the only fast cut off the EP. If the band were to stick to the kind of material as the last two songs, just witha better production element, the EP would have been rather entertaining. Instead, it's rather boring, and only worth the time to find it for the collector's value (if anyone even wants it), and one, possibly two songs, which you can probably obtain for a cheaper price on-line in some digital store.