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Up for review are a group of gentlemen hailing from the grim waters of Finland. Vorum is a seasoned group of musicians, having been together since 2009. Now signed to Woodcut Records, Poisoned Void is their latest, following a three year wait after a split with Vasaeleth entitled Profane Limbs of Ruinous Death and their first record back in ‘09 titled Grim Death Awaits. Now back with this brutal full length, Vorum brings the thunder with a record of unrelenting, skull-splitting, coma-inducing metal. Elegantly mixed to ensure all four members cut through loud and clear, the drums boom behind a wall of crushing guitars, topped perfectly with haunting vocals that are neither drowned out nor overbearing. Given their genre, its easy to fall prey to the ever present need to be as grim and kvlt as possible. This generally means sacrificing recording and production quality, which in this day and age is absolutely unnecessary. Poisoned Void is a perfect example of a quality recording sounding as kvlt as you can get while still maintaining the artistic integrity of the musicians that put all the time and effort into writing and recording the album. I think anyone in the black metal world should take a hint from the Vorum playbook, you don’t need to record with a potato to be grim.
One song that stuck out to me was “Death Stains”. The second song off the record opening with an unbelievably groovy riff that honestly caught me off guard in the best possibly way. In true black metal fashion, they then drop into a high speed barrage of blast beats and trem picking. Despite it being the shortest on the record, its still one of my favorites. It strikes me given all of the groove and power packed into such a small time frame. Throughout this whole record, you’re flung from franticly fast riffs to heavy as hell, down and dirty grooves that make you want to just start banging your head like a lunatic. All in all, this is an impressive record. From the writing and execution of brutally groovy riffs to the overall production quality. I can confidently recommend anyone who hasn’t heard this record yet to get ahold of it and blast it loud, or if you’re even more fortunate, go see them live. Their next upcoming appearances include the Jalometalli fest in Finland with legendary names on the bill such as Aborted, 3 Inches of Blood, Voivod, Blasphemy, and Slayer!
Åland is an autonomous part of Finland consisting of some 6 500 islands situated right between Sweden and the Finnish mainland. With a mere population of 28 000, needless to say, Åland's metal scene is rather slim. Having spent my childhood vacations on these very islands, I am extra thrilled to have stumbled across the full-length debut, Poisoned Void, by Åland deathsters Vorum. And quite a remarkable debut it is.
Like their island of origin, Vorum's take on death metal positions itself right between the well established sounds of the Swedish and Finnish scenes. It is not an easy task combining the technique and gloomy mood of Finnish death metal with the aggression and thrashy melodies of its Swedish counterpart without sounding schizophrenic, but Vorum pulls it off brilliantly.
What truly sets the band apart from other old-school revivalists though, are the beautifully eerie guitar leads, worthy of their countrymen Desecresy, which gives the album an almost Incantation-esque feeling. The tempo is generally high and the music and vocals dark and aggressive, but when the album slows down from time to time it takes its listener on an even darker journey to the beyond.
The only real drawback of Poisoned Void is the somewhat murky and rather thin production. It feels like the band was going for a truly old-school production, but ended up with a modern production trying to sound old-school. Apart from this there really are no mistakes done with this album and it keeps growing with each listening. All in all, well done lads! You really set the soundtrack for this year's rainy vacation at the summerhouse!
Choice cuts: Death's Stains, Thriving Darkness, Dance of Heresy
Performance: 7 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Production: 5 out of 10
Vocals: 7 out of 10
Songwriting: 7 out of 10
Summary: 7 chalices of 10
Originally written for www.MetalCovenant.com
It's 2013 and the Old School Death Metal Revival, or Aping depending on your perspective, continues full steam ahead with Vorum's Poisoned Void, a short and succinct blitzkrieg of "Old School is the only School" death metal. It's an album, which as to be expected, throws a bunch of different obvious influences at you and does so with aplomb.
Everyone, pull out your check lists:
Does it have blacked, blast heavy bits of furious death metal ala Angelcorpse? Check
Does it have Doom-laden, chunky riffs for skull cracking ala Autopsy or Asphyx? Check it off.
Does it have tons of melodic solos and leads ala every death metal band from the late 80's and early 90s? Check and check.
Does it have lurching tremolo picked abominations ala Incantation? You better fucking believe Check.
Does it have vocals which sound like John Tardy or Martin Van Drunen? There's a big fucking Check there buddy.
Poisoned Void is basically text book when it comes to modern Old School Death Metal Worship, moving from influence to influence with speed and prowess, something I have to give it some credit for. With some many of these recent worship albums feeling lazy and passionless, Poisoned Void remains highly aggressive and energetic throughout, and the bands musicianship is top notch and tight. On a basic technical level, musicianship and production, Poisoned Void delivers the goods.
Where it simply doesn't deliver is in the song-writing department, as throughout Poisoned Void you are taunted with moments of pure, head-banging, spine snapping, furiously flailing awesome, only to be smashed back down to earth with another redundant bit of generic blasting and riffing which sounds like the same transition from song to song. Take for example the intro to "Rabid Blood": it's fucking awesome, with some slower tempos and fantastic drumming which shows the skill that the bands talented drummer, Mikko Josefsson, is capable of. He is one of the highlights on this record, displaying incredible speed and dexterity as well as the ability to play some very complex rhythms. But like, well, every other song on the record, "Rabid Blood" becomes a generic, time a dozen amalgamation of various played out "old-skull" tropes that never ascend to the next level, and it feels like Josefsson's talents are being wasted here. It's the same with "Thriving Darkness," a killer intro followed by two brilliant sections which channels early Morbid Angel in all their Ancient glory... before it too falls into a relentless rut of basic old-school stuff that just makes one yawn. In fact, we should rename Poisoned Void to Awesome Intros, Boring Results, as this proves to be a consistent theme throughout the record.
Not to be too harsh here, for as far as blatant old school worship albums go, Poisoned Void is not bad. Although it lacks much of the strong atmosphere of Ectovoid's Fractured in the Timeless Abyss, and it's simply devoid of that wonderful spark of creativity and originality that Execration achieved on Odes to the Occult, Poisoned Void is very furious and is guaranteed to get ones head-banging on more than one occasion. Vorum avoid most of the major prat-falls that can make this style almost completely unlistenable: boring and pointless funeral doom segments are thankfully absent, and Vorum prefer to keep things short and violent, with songs rarely going over the four minute mark. As much as elements of this album infuriate me with it's utterly generic moments, there is just enough here for it to rise above the utter shit that the Old School Death Metal Revival has produced. It's worth a listen, but when the history of this era of death metal is written, Poisoned Void will be little more than a footnote in the annals of time.
originally posted at http://curseofthegreatwhiteelephant.blogspot.com/
Originally written for Me Gusta Reviews. www.megustareviews.com
Vorum is an old school death metal outfit from Åland, Finland. Before I begin, here is some history for you. Those who are well versed in the history of death metal know that after the Swedish scene exploded onto the world stage in the early 90s, bands in neighboring countries took influence from the Swedes and tried to tag along on the success of the Swedish bands. Countries such as Finland, the Netherlands, and Denmark became known for bands such as Convulse and Asphyx (just to name a few) and together, along with the Swedes, helped establish and advance old school death metal as a respectable genre. Since the first wave of old school death metal in Sweden and the second wave in America, Sweden and it's neighbors are experiencing the rise of a third wave of old school death metal. Vorum, and many other new old school death metal bands, are leading this third wave in great stride. Not only are these bands recapturing what made old school death metal great, but they are adding new twists to a seasoned genre. Vorum showcases a good grip on old school death with their first full-length, Poisoned Void.
The music on Poisoned Void is typical of what you would find on an old school death metal record. Even the number of total tracks (eight) is reminiscent of many first wave old school death metal bands! The sound, the feel, and the song writing on this record are all reminiscent of the first wave of old school death metal, but there seems to be more of a focus on speed rather than musicality. For example, only two songs really grabbed my attention, "Rabid Blood" and "Dance of Heresy". The reasons for why these two tracks stood out in my ears are simple to explain. Each of these songs contains some groovey riffs along with a change in overall tempo. Everything else on this record all seemed to melt together and it all seemed fast for the sake of fast. The greatest leaders of the old school death metal genre achieved an excellent balance between the fast assault and the groovey, handbanging sections within their songs. Overall, I feel Vorum overshot this delicate balance, thus causing my mind to wander while the music fell into the background.
The production on this album is what I expect old school death metal to sound like. It's raw, dirty, heavy, nasty, and angry with a razor sharp edge that cuts through any listener. However, the final production showcases each instrument very well. The finished product isn't so raw, dirty, and nasty that instruments/vocal parts are lost in the mix, but at the same time, nothing sounds "perfect" or "over produced". Great work on behalf of the engineering team!
Mikko Josefsson is a solid drummer, and I enjoy listening to him play. However, I'd like to hear him slow things down and show off his musical side instead of always hearing his fast, blasting side. Because the drumming was so consistent from track to track, I tended to drift off and lose interest. Maybe next time, Josefsson will be allowed to showcase the musical side of his drumming (I can only hope).
In summary, Poisoned Void is well versed in the sound of old school death metal, but it is missing some key elements. For instance, playing fast all the time gets boring for the listener. Vorum could definitely have kept my interest if they incorporated more varied tempo changes and groovey, slow to mid paced sections within their songs. Secondly, Vorum has a great drummer on the throne, but the caliber of riffs on this record don't give Josefsson much of choice other than to play fast and focus mainly on blast beats. Overall, Vorum has some work to do and I hope they decide to add more musicality to future releases.
Forming in 2006 (formerly under the name Haudankaivaja), Finnish death metal four-piece Vorum are one of the many emerging bands that fall into the category of ‘new wave of old school death metal’. Paying homage to the genre’s roots by going back to the more primal and raw sound of early 90s death metal, Vorum first made their real imprint on the scene with their 2009 EP Grim Death Awaits; an EP marked by blistering drums, heavy and distorted riffing and gloriously evil growls all to great success and recognition in the scene. Coming back after not releasing any material since 2010’s split with Vasaeleth, Vorum have released their debut album Poisoned Void.
Poisoned Void sees the band heading in a slightly different direction compared their earlier work with its cleaner, quieter and less fuzzy production, a larger focus on tremolo picked guitars and a less intense drum performance. Actually, the band seems to have toned down their sound a lot as the riffs feel a lot less memorable, all sort of melding together into a shapeless display of down-tuned wavering of indistinguishable notes. Though it isn’t all like this, songs like ‘Thriving Darkness’ proving to be a great relief past the halfway mark when it breaks down into a slower, more melodically paced section with its sinister guitar twists and drums that almost burst at the seams. In fact, almost every song on the album has its high points, the opener ‘Impetuous Fires’ having an elongated and deep, gurgled growl that just really reeks of filth-ridden death metal quality during on of the best moments on the album, really conveying a sense of urgency as it slows down with a bridge and blasts into a scornful scream.
At the album’s halfway point, the band rips into the track ‘Evil Seed,’ the highlight of the album. Opening with an utterly groovy drum beat driven by the ride and snare before heading back into the album’s over-arching fast-paced and repetitive death metal theme, then segueing into the song’s “chorus”, with vocalist Jonatan Johansson bellowing out ”Evil! Evil! Evil! Seed! Seed! Seed!”, without denying it’s a little banal, it’s just so deliciously memorable and fun. And before we reach the end of the song, ‘Evil Seed’ also features the most enjoyable guitar solo on the record, though that isn’t saying much as most of the guitar solos on this album walk a thin line between being enjoyable and being a detriment to the music. They’re not bad solos, to an extent, but they feel rather depthless and without ultimate purpose.
As it all comes together, Poisoned Void isn’t a bad album by any means, but by the end it shows that it doesn’t have much to give and aside from a few crowning moments, it all sort of meshes together. Not the band that flew out onto the scene a few years ago, Vorum have shown that with their debut that they’ve regressed their sound on almost all fronts, now just playing enjoyable death metal for die-hard fans of the genre. No more, no less.
Contrary to popular belief old school death metal connoisseurs are of open mind. Play it well and we accept you whole heartedly. Play it like crap and you’re thrown into the deepest bowels of ignorance never to be even glanced at again by the death metal hordes. The band in question here, Vorum, is a 4 piece band from Finland, the land that has given us bands like Lantern and Krypts in the near past. Undoubtedly the land is the dormant hub in the world of new school of revivalist old school metal. However, as I was saying, all Vorum has done prior to this record has been a small 20 minute EP entitled ‘Grim Death Awaits’ back in 2009 and a split with a certain Vasaeleth, a US band with a cult following, and yet the band has gained an eager fan base in the current death metal scene.
Released earlier this year, the debut LP by the band entitled ‘Poisoned Void’ consists of 8 tracks, including 1 from the aforementioned split with Vasaeleth, which all together last for 35 minutes. Produced by a small label called Woodcut records which till date has dealt with less than 10 Finnish extreme metal bands and boasting of artwork by Alexander L. Brown who has leant ink to bands like Heresiarch, Lantern, Mitochondrion and Withchrist, the music contained within this release is a no frills, unconcealed and straightforward assault on the willing or unwilling listener. Compared to the EP that helped this band gain a reputation for sincere, no time to waste death metal, Poisoned Void is rather different. While the EP’s 8 tracks lasted 20 minutes, this albums’ 8 tracks last 35. Except the final title track which lasts 7 minutes all the other track are in the usual 3-4 minute category.
Apart from track lengths while ‘Grim Death Awaits’ borrowed heavily from death metal lords Incantation and Autopsy this album seems to be a mixture of Swedish, Finnish and US death metal. Contemptuously using the chainsaw riffs made famous by Swedish swamis like Entombed, Dismember and Nihilist, backed by the innate heaviness which was emblematic in the Finnish scene because of bands like Convulse and Demigod meshed together with the symbolic murkiness and song writing of bands like Autopsy, Vorum has released an album that while has underlying influences in every aspect permeates a knowledge of effective and original death metal throughout. The strong point of the band is definitely the guitarwork and song writing skills. The guitarwork uses the typical throaty screamed vocals which even though is nothing spectacular is well executed and the drumming which alternates between blastbeats which thrust the band to the next level or simple drumming in the background as support to give the album its focal point. Most of the album is up-tempo except for the rare Autopsy-ian doomy riff here and there. Coming back to the guitarwork, the dual guitars with the catchy riffs, razor sharp rhythms and melodic tremolo picked solos make for the bread and butter of the band as compared to the EP which relied on brutality and heaviness. The murky guitars occasionally carry a raw black metal tinge to it which help create the dark mood present here. The ability of the band to know when to throw in the doomy section or the face melting melodic solos or churn out high quality and catchy riffs and when to stop is a definite highlight of the album. The way the guitars with its oozy rottenness entwine each other and yet give each other enough breathing space is the glue that holds together the whole band and moulds into a lean mean cohesive unit. The production is real good, and really helps the band attain the old school sound it wishes to achieve.
The approach showcased here is a gimmick free and simple albeit effective one. The band hasn’t pushed the boundaries in any way whatsoever but mixed together known elements in the proper proportion to give the old schoolers an album they will truly appreciate because of the consistency, the fact that every track here has something to offer and an unforgiving intensity throughout without going over the top or trying too hard. Keep this one here in mind, it will surely make your albums of the year list.
[Also posted on - http://toolatetopray.blogspot.in/]
Another entrant into the death metal nostalgia qualifying round, Finns Vorum (formerly Haudankaivaja) keep their heads above many peers through a delicate balance of straightforward, murky annihilation and surges of primal, energetic lead work that simply explode over the rhythm section. All the while, they manage to avoid the pigeonhole of aping any one particular acts from the 90s, no easy feat when you've got piles of this stuff coming at any given time, surely the most prevalent theme going on in all of the death metal genre at present. Poisoned Void is the band's first full length outing, but based on what I hear through its compact, 35 minutes of seal clubbing, I think this is going to be a pretty huge hit among the connoisseurs of such antiquated brutality.
Surely, you've got obvious fingers to point in terms of influences, from Incantation to Autopsy, Asphyx to older Pestilence, to their own national forebears like Demilich or Convulse, but it would be more fitting to approach this record as: the 90s, coming at you fast, rotting, and very often. The hyper-realized guitar tone is crusted in this thick and churning tone which holds up through the faster-paced, harmonic tremolo riffing, which is in truth perhaps the most interesting focus of all the gathered riffs. Once they start breaking out into chords, the patterns become a bit meeker and less compelling, but Poisoned Void functions perfectly well between just these swift passages, the slower, eerie intros ("Thriving Darkness") and the astoundingly cool leads ("Deaths Stain", "Rabid Blood"). There was a sense that a lot of the individual rhythms move at a concurrent pace, and can seem somewhat samey across the sum structure of the album, but every time you think you're about to nod off, they just unleash this searing series of notes that draws you straight back into their oblique and punishing underworld...
Add to this a perky bass tone which is constantly busy below the bulk of the two guitarists, some hostile and muscular drumming which isn't brickwalled or thoroughly overpolished, and you get a total modern spin on the tones of hellish, archaic juggernauts like Severed Survival, Onward to Golgotha, World Without God or The Rack, all mashed up into one primal blue pill. The vocals of Joatan Johansson (who is also handling one of the guitars) have more of a raucous, shouting effect to them redolent of L-G Petrov or other Swedish old schoolers; rather than a burping gurgle or guttural ghastliness. What's best about the album, though, is that where a lot of these throwback sounds seem to lack either atmosphere or riffing quality, Vorum does manage to hold both together in equal measure. The leads offer exponential value rather than useless and unwelcome indulgence, incendiary visions of occult alienation that take the rhythm section to that next level and make the avid, musically-inclined listener freak out and air guitar. The wormy, muck-caked sinew of the rhythm guitar is a beautifully abusive, and as a whole, Poisoned Void certainly succeeds in taking you back all those years, while maintaining enough intensity to push its punishment forward. Not perfect, but pretty goddamn rad.