Review Summary: Without a doubt a solid album, but perhaps only for completists.
Forming in 2006 (formerly under the name Haudankaivaja), Finnish death metal four-piece Vorum are one of the many emerging bands that fall into the category of ‘new wave of old school death metal’. Paying homage to the genre’s roots by going back to the more primal and raw sound of early 90s death metal, Vorum first made their real
imprint on the scene with their 2009 EP Grim Death Awaits
; an EP marked by blistering drums, heavy and distorted riffing and gloriously evil growls all to great success and recognition in the scene. Coming back after not releasing any material since 2010’s split with Vasaeleth, Vorum have released their debut album Poisoned Void
sees the band heading in a slightly different direction compared their earlier work with its cleaner, quieter and less fuzzy production, a larger focus on tremolo picked guitars and a less intense drum performance. Actually, the band seems to have toned down their sound a lot as the riffs feel a lot less memorable, all sort of melding together into a shapeless display of down-tuned wavering of indistinguishable notes. Though it isn’t all like this, songs like ‘Thriving Darkness’ proving to be a great relief past the halfway mark when it breaks down into a slower, more melodically paced section with its sinister guitar twists and drums that almost burst at the seams. In fact, almost every song on the album has its high points, the opener ‘Impetuous Fires’ having an elongated and deep, gurgled growl that just really reeks of filth-ridden death metal quality during on of the best moments on the album, really conveying a sense of urgency as it slows down with a bridge and blasts into a scornful scream.
At the album’s halfway point, the band rips into the track ‘Evil Seed,’ the highlight of the album. Opening with an utterly groovy drum beat driven by the ride and snare before heading back into the album’s over-arching fast-paced and repetitive death metal theme, then segueing into the song’s “chorus”, with vocalist Jonatan Johansson bellowing out ”Evil! Evil! Evil! Seed! Seed! Seed!”
, without denying it’s a little banal, it’s just so deliciously memorable and fun
. And before we reach the end of the song, ‘Evil Seed’ also features the most enjoyable guitar solo on the record, though that isn’t saying much as most of the guitar solos on this album walk a thin line between being enjoyable and being a detriment to the music. They’re not bad solos, to an extent, but they feel rather depthless and without ultimate purpose.
As it all comes together, Poisoned Void
isn’t a bad album by any means, but by the end it shows that it doesn’t have much to give and aside from a few crowning moments, it all sort of meshes together. Not the band that flew out onto the scene a few years ago, Vorum have shown that with their debut that they’ve regressed their sound on almost all fronts, now just playing enjoyable death metal for die-hard fans of the genre. No more, no less.