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Vonnegut > Grand Betrayal > Reviews
Vonnegut - Grand Betrayal

More than worthy spiritual successors to Аспид - 85%

interstellar_medium, November 27th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, Digital, Independent

Every now and then there appear bands that defy genres. This Russian hidden gem, Vonnegut, is a relatively new addition to this category. Hailing from the industrial city of Chelyabinsk, the band formed in 2015 and has a few EPs under their collective belt.

With Grand Betrayal, their long-awaited full-length, Vonnegut managed to create a melancholic and chaotic journey, seemingly inspired by just about anything that has happened in guitar-oriented music over the last thirty years. It boggles the mind to realise that there are only three people contributing to the recording (outside of the artist in charge of the cover and CD layout), and that the music, unrelentingly unconventional and intricately intense, is written by the band's mastermind utterly by himself.

A cop-out to describe what Vonnegut are playing on this album would be "avant-garde death metal", though they use no clean vocals, violins or other instruments usually associated with the avant-garde scene; but what about the uncompromisingly twisted song structures, ever-locking onto themselves in a way that would make Ouroboros jealous, and sophisticated harmonies that venture into jazz territory when you least expect them to? These aren't really to be found in the OSDM or even blackened death territory; and, despite primarily breakneck speeds, there is too much poignant melodicism in there to write Vonnegut off as a "yet another tech death band".

Even though the band itself barely ever cites black metal as an influence, fans of Dissection and Sacramentum would likely find a lot to enjoy about this album. There is a certain somber grandness to the whole experience, additionally heightened by the well-thought-out lyrics - which are, unfortunately, not that easy to discern by ear; however, the lyrics are available on the bandcamp page of the release.

The material on display is extremely solid, to the point of it being impossible to select a single track as a standout; in a way, this is a very oldschool record, meaning that it is best perceived as a whole. Even though the production is crystal clear, there is enough going on musically to warrant numerous relistenings.