Review Summary: True black metal that also took some music theory classes in college.
“. . . elitism is the highest order.”
In an interview done with Vimur frontman and songwriter Vaedis (conducted by Chad Radford at creativeloafing.com), this phrase is the one that jumped out at me. Black metal is well known for its elite, exclusionary roots in Norway and although black metal has grown a thousand times larger since, there are still many that hold it to certain standards regarding underground status or engagement with the wider world. Vimur seem to hold true to tradition in many regards. They all sport fictional stage names, describe their drummer’s input as “sonic pulse bombardment” on their bandcamp page, and unironically slapped a depiction of a mythological Norse river of (checks notes) menstrual blood and urine on their latest record, Triumphant Master of Fates
. Vimur is very much a band dedicated to elite black metal ideals.
However, that isn’t really what the quote is referring to. Vaedis was instead commenting on his belief in pushing one’s personal ability further and the high standards he holds his bandmates to. Vimur shroud themselves in classical black metal mystique, but operate more like a modern day Emperor or an especially bleak thrash metal band. There’s no fuzzy, overloaded distortion and rowdy drum blasts. Instead, Vimur offer a clear, if not polished mix and suspiciously technical compositions. Mountains of tangled riffs are piled on top of each other, while a masterful yet relentless drum framework keeps everything held together. Like Emperor in their heyday, Vimur are the music theorist’s black metal band, and not so much the anarchist’s.
That’s not to say they’re a sterile tech death band draped in darker colors. In between bouts of ripping guitar pyrotechnics, Vimur are just as quick to build up dreary melodic sequences like that found in the colossal “Supreme Preemption of the Lightless Empire”. Labeling them as just
black metal doesn’t even quite do them justice when they’re so frequently dipping into other styles, like the breakneck thrash-death hybrid “Consumed by the Source” or the aching funeral doom of “Our Dearest Hopes Lie Buried Here”. At the end of the day though, it’s all gussied up in blackened hues and Luciferian tones to the point that their more advanced tendencies become seasoning instead of the full flavor.
Vimur aren’t necessarily reinventing the wheel with Triumphant Master of Fates
, but they do have an appealing framework. More importantly, it’s cool to see a band blending very convincing traditionalism and dense atmospheres with technical gusto. We didn’t need the thousandth Mayhem or even the hundredth Emperor, but someone nestled in between the two with a foot out toward Behemoth isn’t so bad.