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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.