November 28, 2014

John, the Void - John, the Void

Written by Ulla Roschat.

Whenever an album has some kind of intro and outro tracks, I take it as a hint that probably listening to all of its tracks in the given order might make sense. And it obviously does in the case of John, the Void’s self titled EP of six songs and a total playing time of nearly 36 minutes.

An instrumental track called “The Eleventh” opens the album with dark metallic sounds like hammer on steel, creaking, grinding metal and distorted voices, accompanied by a dark ambient atmosphere as obscure that it leaves you wonder which direction the whole thing might take…, it could lead into some dark ambient industrial sounds as well as into the realms of post metal.

The following track “In Rows” though, leaves little doubt that this will become a post metal experience enriched with big portions of drone, doom and noise to create dark apocalyptic images and atmospheres. Any traces of doubt still left will be destroyed when the vocals set in for the first time at about 1:45. Harsh, growling screams that support the vibes of bleak, cold violence perfectly well, alternate with ambient instrumental parts, moments of quiet melancholy and despair carried by beautiful, emphatic melodies.

The rare wan rays of light and hope that are detectable through the otherwise cold and lonely darkness of “In Rows” are getting totally obliterated by the devastating heaviness of the next track “Quiescence”. This, being the longest song of the EP (and my favorite), shows the excellent songwriting skills of this five piece band. The nearly 9 minute song is filled with several build ups and a variety of moods and tensions. Layers of sound slowly grow into thick and heavy soundscapes and the ambient instrumental parts with their haunting, somber melodies are no less intense than the depressive crushing doom.

The “The Reversionist” continues the slow painful agony of destruction with forceful strained vocals at the start and menacing ambience evoking gloomy emotions. “The Ascension” contains the explosive energy of a final uproar ending in black and bleak nothingness, and the outro track “The Seventh”, as if it were possible, seems to even increase the nothingness, but adds a soft droning ambience that is almost soothing and consoling. This is also an instrumental and the complementary to the intro track and closes the album.

Within each song there’s an excellent balance between the heavy parts with their strong vocals and the instrumental ambient ones with this unique melancholic quietness still full of tension and a huge emotional impact. The album as a whole has its own build up as well as each of the songs and makes it all sound perfectly organic.

The icing on the cake is a stellar DIY production.

The five piece band from Pordenone/Italy formed in 2012, the current line up exists since 2013 and this self titled EP from June 2014 is their debut release !!!

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

The song "Quiescence" is featured on a The Wicked Lady Show 73.

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