Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2023
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Privacy Policy

Vothana > Sâu bệnh / Pestilence > Reviews > Forever Underground
Vothana - Sâu bệnh / Pestilence

Not like this Kenny - 13%

Forever Underground, September 18th, 2023

Do you know what my favourite parts of the album are? The intros where fanfare music is used, I don't know the origin of this music but I guess they are themes with a lot of years behind them and that they must have a popular origin or a certain historical relevance of the place where they come from. I also don't know if these musical fragments have a certain ideological meaning, but knowing the ideological reality of the band I can imagine that they do and where they are headed. Still, they serve their purpose perfectly, it really is a music that transports you to a militaristic but at the same time happy atmosphere, probably to recall a certain nostalgic dog whistle, and it really works as a way to get in tune with a part of the tone of the album and also as a strong contrast with the rest of the music. Another way of saying what I've just written is, the music I like on this album is the music that Kenny Vu hasn't made, so I really want to make it clear how low the bar is going to be set here.

In one of the listens I was doing to this album to prepare this review (have some pity on me please) I came to conclude in my head in an almost cathedratic way "How much damage Moonblood has done". And I emphasize this because, to begin with, you can tell that Kenny Vu is a BIG fan of Moonblood, and his music reflects this, it's a constant attempt to make black metal as raw as possible but at the same time it's flooded with great epic and glorious tints, with long compositions and riffs that in spite of their rudeness and aggressiveness manage to reflect a melodism that sounds beautiful. And when I say the damage Moonblood has done, I do it because they managed to capture this sound perfectly, and this Vothana album is nothing more than one of the greatest examples of a band trying to replicate this style and failing in the most miserable way possible.

When I listen to Sâu bệnh/Pestilence what comes to mind is that it sounds the same way your non-metal friends think black metal sounds, a grotesque and senseless mass of constant, almost intelligible, dense, pounding, overly repetitive and meaningless noise. It's a constant metallic shrapnel that shoots unceremoniously in all directions, without the intention of hitting any target and just to make noise and scare. Not that this album scares me, if anything it makes me fall asleep, because even in its incessant discharge it is monochromatic to the extreme, there is only one tone and it doesn't stop at any moment. There's never anything different or that captures my attention, the drums sound almost always the same, the vocals are pure bellowing without any hint of charm or drama, totally unvaried and homogeneous throughout the whole long play, and most of the riffs are simplistic and boring, taking away any idea of epicness that tries to enhance the concept behind the music. And the worst thing is that there are brief moments where he manages to create those melodramatic riffs that fit with the raw sound, the most obvious being perhaps the final section of "Jews Are Our Misfortune", but being something so punctual and being this flash of quality surrounded by a performance of such low quality that I am unable to really enjoy them, because it seems more the result of a fortunate coincidence than the merit of Kenny Vu himself.

Neither epicness, nor beauty, nor rawness, what Vothana does on this album is something that has been done many times before, done much better and without having to put up with national socialist bullshit. Crap of an album.