Monday, November 4, 2013

Vhol - Vhöl

By Dave Schalek. Profound Lore Records recently added the (almost) self titled debut full-length from so-called super group Vhol to their Bandcamp catalog. Vhol is comprised of various band members from diverse groups such as Agalloch, Hammers of Misfortune, and YOB, amongst others.
By Dave Schalek.

Cover art by John Cobbett

Profound Lore Records recently added the (almost) self titled debut full-length from so-called super group Vhol to their Bandcamp catalog. Vhol is comprised of various band members from diverse groups such as Agalloch, Hammers of Misfortune, and YOB, amongst others. Given this pedigree, you’d expect the music to be of a high caliber, and that’s exactly what you get. Vhol’s music is a bit hard to describe, though. The music sounds almost nothing like the various band members’ other projects, but, at the same time, it sounds exactly like you would expect from such accomplished musicians more or less coming from the same geographical area and related scenes.

If that sounds confusing, it is, but Vhöl is sort of a weird mix between Cascadian black metal, crust/ punk, and the progressive approach and iconography of Voivod. That’s an interesting mix, to say the least, but the description gets further muddied when you toss in some clean vocals sung with harmony and melody that share the stage with lower pitched growls. You might be surprised to learn that Mike Scheidt of YOB does the vocals.

The music is fast with a jangly, almost trebly tone. Scheidt’s effective vocals have a tendency to soar, giving the music a very uplifting feeling. What really anchors the sound, though, is the amazing drumming of Aesop Dekker, giving the percussion a very infectious, raucous tempo that showcases the band’s nods to crust and punk. Accompanying the percussion very nicely are great bass lines from Sigrid Sheie, also of Hammers of Misfortune.

The debut from Vhol will initially be a challenging listen for some listeners. But, the challenge is worth your while, as the payoff is rewarding.


Tagged with 2013, black metal, crust, Dave Schalek, heavy metal, power metal, Profound Lore Records, Vhol
4 comments:
  1. They may not be as well-known as Velvet Revolver or Audioslave, but as far as the underground goes, this is a supergroup. Also, Cobbett and Aesop were in Ludicra together, which is pretty much the reason they got together to do Vhol (according to PFL, at least).

    Also, I think the black metal elements are more from the first-wave (like Zemial) rather than the Cascadian stuff. Probably not a huge difference, except in perception from people who are predisposed to attack and label albums like this as "hipster", which it is clearly not.

    Other than that, you did well with an album that is beyond difficult to describe. I agree with the conclusion: the payoff is incredible. I would also add that since this is their debut, we can expect bigger and better things in the future.

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  2. The Metal Archives genre tag "Black Metal/Crust with Heavy/Power Metal influences" initially had me baffled, but is actually not that far off. Especially the last song has plenty of power metal in it.

    Also, this album was just perfect after spending too much time on the Crepúsculo Negro Bandcamp :)

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  3. I remember reading a funny comment about this album a while back: The article was describing the group, and said something to the effect of, "What would you do if you were a record label and had access to former members of Ludicra and members of YOB and Hammers of Misfortune..." The conclusion was, of course, you would put together Vhol, but someone wrote in the comments, "If I had access to the former members of Ludicra, I would put them all together and make them be Ludicra again." :)

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  4. Couldn't get into this album at all. Corrections House - Last City Zero is my favorite "super group" album of the year and probably in my top ten of the year.

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