Review Summary: A dynamic, dense, groovy head-trip that secures Vildhjarta's place as the bully of the modern djent scene.
The release of Måsstaden
by Swedish polyrhythmic metal sextet Vildhjarta was the band’s way of addressing to the rest of the down-tuned djent scene: “Hey, fuckers. Listen up. This is how it’s done.” And they delivered. It was heavy as a stack of cinderblocks and grooved like a motherf’er. Vildhjarta didn’t follow any of the structural norms; they mixed offbeat accented grooves with death metal traits and ambient refrains in an unpredictable yet gripping fashion. What’s appealing is that the band presents a darker take on the proggy-groove formula; one that accentuates grooves above all else, like Meshuggah
before them, which effectively renders Vildhjarta the bully of the modern groove metal bands. A title they rightfully earned.
Thousands of Evils
expounds on the risqué qualities Måsstaden
introduced. The jumpy, eccentric groove sections are darker and more fun, the ambient passages are fleshed out and explored, the instrumentation is tighter than ever; but what really sets Thousands of Evils
apart is the wide scope of dynamics. Even the vocal performance includes styles ranging from hardcore screams, black metal shrieks, to death metal growls when the music calls for it. Clean vocals rear their head on a couple tracks, and while they’re a nice change of pace at times, unfortunately they can be off-putting at others. Still, this branching out on the band’s part gave way to more ambitious experimentation, like the groovy acoustic guitar-driven ‘Dimman’ and the beautiful strings and piano lines of ‘Intermezzo’. Vildhjarta use this unpredictability as an attention grabber without sacrificing songwriting or cohesion – you’re always in the moment and always on your toes, and that’s exactly where they want you.
Listening to Thousands of Evils
is like a 25-minute night drive through a neighborhood you’ve never been to. It can be loud and abrasive one minute and a whisper the next; you cannot let your mind drift for even a moment or you’ll miss something, subtle or not. Thousands of Evils
is a developed, realized piece of music that doesn’t lose its sight for a second, but it demands as much participation from the listeners as was given by the musicians who made it. The end result is surely worth it.