Review Summary: Arguably the most interesting black metal release since Enslaved’s Axioma Ethica Odini.
The world just loves proving me wrong, doesn’t it? After a year of ho hum black metal releases (with maybe one or two exceptions) and looking back at last year, I realized something. Black metal is dead. I had given up on the genre except for a few old stalwarts who would continue producing excellent material. Then these Australian bastards show up and show me how very wrong I was. With a track list that manages to throw countless influences in (I.e. doom metal, post rock, Gothenburg melodic death metal) without ever losing sight of its black metal roots, Vyrion’s debut stands as probably the best black metal album of the year and is a promising start for a hopefully long and successful career.
The riffs are perfectly constructed, being brutal and unrelenting when need be or soft and atmospheric. Look no further than album highlights Winter Vector
and Rendering the Lifeless
. Both manage to perfectly fuse slower atmospheric sections with periods of aggressive and fast paced riffing. But Vyrion nails more than just aggression and slower atmospheric parts that seem to be expected of black metal bands. The aforementioned Winter Vector
has some great Agalloch-esque moments that never sound like they are rip offs. The intro of The Silence
is wonderfully doomy before erupting into pummeling death metal-esque riffs. The guitarists Mark Boyce and Dale G. Williams obviously know their craft. They even throw in a couple really cool solos or two that really show off their technical chops.
Vyrion also manages to astound with the sheer range of vocals that they manage to show off. Dale and back up vocalist and bassist Chris Cox manage to do everything from black metal shrieks to cleans to death metal growls. It’s really quite astounding. And none of them are really all that weak. Look to the astounding closer Sole Remainder
for proof of that, or the astonishingly catchy The Decider
I could go on and on about the fantastic bass lines (look to The Decider
for that one) or the great drumming talents of Leo Graae. Or perhaps I could touch on how the production is really the only thing holding this album back from being perhaps the greatest album of the year (It’s pretty bad, even by black metal standards). But I won’t, because that will make this review go on for far too long. In short though, Vryion’s debut is an amazing slab of progressive black metal that makes them a definite artist to keep your eye on in a scene that seems to be struggling to create bands that continue to innovate and push the boundaries of “what can black metal be?”
-Great guitar work
-Astonishing vocal performance
-Strong and robust rhythm section
-Fuzzy and muddled production
Rendering the Lifeless