Monday, January 28, 2013

Vorum - "Poisoned Void" (2013) [Dark Descent Records]

This whole "new wave of old school death metal" thing has really...really picked up. Maybe a reaction to the "Southern Lord hardcore" scene, who don't sound like anything more than Clandestine-era Entombed demos with Dwid Hellion on vocals (maybe), or maybe a newfound sense of historical appreciation thanks to the age of the internet and the ready availability of otherwise unavailable material like Finnish gods Rippikoulu, but, either way, it seems like everyone and their brother kneels at the throne of the early '90s. That might not be a bad thing, given the gathering momentum of the more "artsy"side of metal's necessity for a counterweight, but, man, I've had to wade through a lot of Onwards to Golgotha cover albums to find something as awesome as Finland's Vorum.

Having honed their talents for the past seven years, cutting an EP and split with the harrowing Vasaeleth in the process, Vorum finally unleashed their first full-length effort today on filth merchant Dark Descent Records. After waiting so many years, the inevitable disappointment, a byproduct of anticipation, could have played a key role in this album, but, luckily, Vorum delivers. Hard. Poisoned Void is an solid meditation in the violent, creepy death metal of old, nodding, naturally, to heavy-hitters like Incantation, Asphyx, and the like, but with the tasteful amount of clarity which comes with a newer album. Though the muddiness of old-school albums is a key part of the gaseous, horrific atmospheres they crafted, it is refreshing to hear such a sharpened revitalization. The chunks are chunkier, the leads cut like a knife, and everything fits together without clashing. Stomping at a consistently muscular mid-pace, Vorum unleashes an army of riffs the likes of which would make their predecessors blush; never faltering or straying from the tried and true "old school death metal" blue-print.

This conservatism, unfortunately, also makes Poisoned Void "another one of those new old school death metal albums," at least on the surface. Though the Autopsy-school-of-death-metal approach will always be appreciated by this writer, I can't help but feel Vorum will get lost in the sea of sameness which plagues this re-invigoration of the ancients. This exercise in putrid murk will accompany on many a gym outing. Hail the metal of death.


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