Review Summary: Welkin deliver an intense and insanely groovy album from no where else but Belgium!
I discovered Welkin while actually looking to broaden my horizons away from my usual interest of metal (Seeing as Welkin is an alternative indie band.) Instead, what I found was a rather intense yet focused album by this Belgian band that incorporates a slew of groove laden riffs and catchy bass.
Make no mistake, this is groove metal through and through, but before worrying over any chances of mediocrity from everything else, know that the band as a whole is rather impressive. Vocals deliver a heavy, almost bordering on grind, approach to the music, while actually containing a groove element of their own. The vocals are screamed with its own set of rhythm that fits almost perfectly with the atmosphere of the album.
Drumming is excellent, but not in the sense of technicality. The drums are competent, to be sure, but it's nothing like you would hear from their fellow countrymen Aborted. The drums, rather, maintain a consistent beat that merely complements the groove riffs or the vocals, and rarely do they stray from this path. Yet when they do go off on their own tangent, they surprisingly pack a powerful punch, adding a real kick to the music.
The guitars on this album are fantastic, and were the first notable aspect of the band I picked up on. Transitioning from either intense intros, breakdowns, groove passages, or sometimes full on solos, the guitars fully encompass the intensity of this band. It should be noted that the groove sections are not merely recycled riffs from previous songs or other bands, but fit within each song. Just listen to the beginning of "Humanivore," the guitars provide an absolutely crushing lead into the song, whereas on album opener "Acheron," the guitars place a very light and airy approach to the song. The bass should by doubly noted, as its consistent appearance throughout the album serves to intensify the grooviness of the album, and add to the overall atmosphere of the album.
In regards to the atmosphere, the album as whole has this wonderfully light underproduction to it that actually manages to complement the album. Without detracting from the music, the slightly fuzzy production manages to make some of the songs feel almost claustrophobic, thereby intensifying the overall sound to the album. This is a very weak comparison to be sure, but at times it faintly reminds me of Portal, but only in its slight use of production to add atmosphere to the album.
Overall, Welkin capitalize on the inherent catchiness of groove metal and add on to it. The obvious influences by grind metal serves to add intensity to the mix, creating a unique cocktail of musical audacity. A definite listen to any fan of either grind or groove metal.