Review Summary: Trade your soul for some funk
The days of raw jazz fusion-death metal may have come and past, but the glory of Cynic and friends live on in all our hearts as a captivating and precious epoch for the world of metal. Metalheads crinkle their faces in disgust and turn their noses to the newly found practices of space oriented noodling. While the days of Atheist and Gorguts were grand, there is also a forgotten dark side of the whole movement. Some drink to forget, some are 12, but regardless of circumstance Vuvr is a band to gorge from your memory.
Vuvr play a highly experimental, jazz fusion style of death metal featuring the offbeat and wonky riffs upheld by prominent and neatly picked bass playing. It is in jazz’s nature to be a freeform expression, to be able to express those darkest of lows and those moments of transcendence. While Vuvr delivers a lot of sounds it is difficult to place any significance on them. Vuvr’s primary focus on ‘Pilgrimage’ is to exchange as much change and materials between user and speaker as possible within a short range of time. There are a lot of movements to be found between soft sections, full out riffing and the heavy sets but ultimately none really express anything. The song structures are definitely outside of death metal norms but nothing really feels significant or meaningful. The songs just kind of move around a lot and make weird noises until they are over, there is a whole lifeless and impersonal charade to such tidings and really misses out on the passion jazz shares with its listeners.
The bass above all else is the primary tool of destruction at Vuvr’s disposal. There is a huge amount of diversity to found in the bass playing ranging from multiple influences and spanning genres. Funk is even notably present in the coiling and grooving of the baselines found throughout some particularly pushing passages. The bass adds a lot of character and wackiness to the music, with stuttered and recoiling baselines the guitar atop seems to be tossed around by the chaotic juxtaposition. For cheap thrills the band tries to draw its users in the same way a pop song would even if not as immediately recognizable. The whole song structure tends to almost feel like it traveling across waves moving up and down, swashing about crescendos whose climax and decline last for a whole good 3 seconds, just to add that little sugar kick and drive for your attention. Ultimately though this sailor gets seasick when being tossed around and thrown more hooks than a fish, the whole ordeal becomes gimmicky and tiring until you no longer care about what Vuvr is trying to show you.
Besides the constant push of poorly executed attention grabbers the song structure also suffers from abysmal songwriting. Much alike the problems of modern techdeath bands, Vuvr attempt to fit far too many ideas without substance into too small of a space. The songs shift constantly into new ideas, so many in fact that as the album progresses: movements start to become all too repetitive and familiar. It is almost as if the band with all their ideas, just shift for the sake of grabbing attention rather than providing the listeners with new and thought provoking ideas. It may have funk, but the lack of ingenuity, songwriting and soul make this album all about cheap thrills that really weren’t all that enticing to begin with.