Vukari
Aevum


4.0
excellent

Review

by tectactoe USER (4 Reviews)
October 21st, 2019 | 61 replies


Release Date: 10/01/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Carries both the splendor and the density of a dying star; a tornado of sound - equal parts beautiful and brutal - from which there is no escape.

As much as I hate reducing any form of art to an “x + y” equation of its influences, I feel compelled to note that Vukari’s latest album is precisely what you’d expect if someone told you that Mgla had released their own version of Sunbather. Aevum sits quaintly at that intersection, blending the relentless aggression and dynamism of the former with the semi-melodic, engulfing walls of sound you’ll find in the latter to create a rebellious powerhouse that slyly squirms its way out of easy classification. It’s black, it’s atmospheric, it’s doomy, it’s melodic, it’s gazey, but it’s never any of those in totality, constantly stretching itself across the full spectrum effortlessly.

All of this becomes evident from the first track, “Abrasive Hallucinations”, which coincidentally serves as both a barometer of expectations and a tidy, six-minute summary: The calm opening is a harbinger of the apocalypse that awaits; a fuzzy, distorted guitar mindlessly squeals in the periphery, buried under the dense reverb of the clean guitar in the foreground; the drums crescendo several times and drop out at the apex; a quick segue of measured riffing and post-rock thrumming eclipses—almost as a sly feint—before launching into full-blown calamity. Thick enclosures of tremolos, blast beats, and raspy, guttural vocals swallow you whole, leaving little room to catch your breath.

Until another minute or so later, that is, when the drums cease the madness and temper into a metered, anthematic pounding of the toms, accompanied by some of the most delicious low-level growling I’ve heard—the guitars back away from the furious picking and settle into a series of high-pitched sustains, establishing a cumulative mood with the vocals that resembles doom at its most stunningly ethereal. This is the kind of music that no amount of flowery language could appropriately describe—my reaction to this was instant magnetism, my knee-jerk tendencies to nitpick tossed aside as I sat in awe of the miraculous soundscape that towered over me. I wasn't just hearing this record, I was feeling it.

And we’re not even through the first track yet. But with that expansive opener, Vukari demonstrated a wider range of sounds and abilities in six minutes than they did across the entirety of their previous release, Divination; a good album, but one that suffered from a lack of variation, as if it were inherently pigeonholed by the genre-label the band thought it should carry. Here, it’s obvious that Vukari couldn’t care less if you wanna call ‘em atmospheric metal, or doom metal, or post-metal, or blackgaze, or whatever obnoxious portmanteau you can whip up; they’re simply playing what they want to play, unrestricted by meaningless expectations, confident that their sound will speak for itself. And my god, does it ever.

Circling back to my introductory algebra, I specifically mention Mgla (as a whole) and Deafheaven’s Sunbather not merely because Aevum could be a theoretical crosspollination of two, but because it quells the criticisms most often heaved at those respective entities. Dissenters of Mgla: "Yeah, they’re good, but this album sounds just like the last one, which sounded just like the one before that…” Likewise, objectors of Sunbather will lament that it’s “not heavy enough” or “not black enough” or “too soft” or [insert generic, emasculatory remark]. Aevum, on the other hand, falls victim to no such troubles: Varied and dynamic enough without growing unwieldy or cumbersome, making uncanny bedfellows of darkness, melody, brutality, and elegance. Try to administer any of the aforementioned critiques to this and you’ll quickly see how silly it sounds.

Vukari hasn’t reinvented the wheel with Aevum, but they needn’t; this is a gargantuan step in the right direction, and a refreshingly unique entry in a subgenre that tends to engender hours upon hours of painfully similar conformity year after year. Sure, it may wear its influences on its sleeve a bit too proudly at times, but the culmination of elements and touchpoints is successfully repurposed into something wholly distinct and separable. I wouldn’t recommend this to “metal” fans, I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys music, full stop. Prescribing this to a small subset of people based on two or three-word descriptors is a disservice to the breadth embodied within. Just give it a listen and thank me later.


user ratings (62)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
tectactoe
October 21st 2019


3593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I never ever ever ever write reviews for music (movies are another story), but this album is too damn good to go unnoticed. And it's currently going unnoticed.

Digging: Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space

Gyromania
October 21st 2019


30937 Comments


Sick album art

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2019


12976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey look, another edge-lord 1 rating.



This is a really nice (and much needed review). Your algebra theme here really fits even if it makes a reader wonder where this is going.



I'm a bit miffed that alt-black metal albums are going to get auto compared to Sunbather-core but I guess that's a sign of the times.

tectactoe
October 21st 2019


3593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks Nocte. (And I agree - subjectivity and all, how could anyone consider this a legitimate 1.0?)

There were a few albums I was thinking of using for the "y" in my theoretical equation, but went with "Sunbather" because [1] it's the most well know/ubiquitous of the bunch (meaning a wider range of people will understand the comparison I'm trying to make) and [2] I genuinely think it improves upon the few (small) qualms I have about "Sunbather," which I wanted to address in the second to last paragraph.

Either way, thanks for reading. I hate writing about music (mostly because I'm not very good at it) but I think this album is amazing and is getting severely under-looked. Felt it was deserving of a proper place to chat about it.

tectactoe
October 21st 2019


3593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

My main goal is to get more people to listen to this—I think it’s got something special.

Krvst
October 22nd 2019


479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just started jamming but this is some real good stuff, nice review. Remember hearing Divination back in the day and not being too fussed so this feels like a big step up for them.

Pikazilla
October 22nd 2019


13282 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The ratings of the guy who 1'd this are funny as hell

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2019


12976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

they largely seem to be metal 1's too. Am I missing something, or is hating on great albums what kids do circa 2019?

tectactoe
October 22nd 2019


3593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I dunno, but s/he claims "he's not a big metal fan" in one of his sound-offs, so I don't see the point in listening to a bunch of metal albums if s/he truly believes they've all been deserving of 1.0's. Like, I get trying to expend and branch out but at some point you have to conclude that you'll never come around to it, right?

Gyromania
October 22nd 2019


30937 Comments


Yo this is a good review you should post more regularly

tectactoe
October 22nd 2019


3593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks Gyro. I probably would, but my devices for critiquing music are not as strong as I'd like (film is where my true passion lies), and usually by the time I fall in love with an album, it already has several reviews that are likely going to be superior to whatever I'll have to say.

I will make a conscious effort to write a review for anything I adore that is still lacking a review, though those albums are few and far between.

Pikazilla
October 22nd 2019


13282 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Beautiful review, man.



Pos'd.

DoofDoof
October 22nd 2019


8513 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Will check this soon

Egarran
October 22nd 2019


19212 Comments


I can confirm this is a very good review.

And what a cover.

Digging: Akhlys - Melino

tectactoe
October 22nd 2019


3593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks, gents.

Pikazilla
October 22nd 2019


13282 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Seriously, tectatoe, you should review more. You got great writing skills.

tectactoe
October 22nd 2019


3593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks again Pika. I do enjoy writing, though like I said, my critical wherewithal is much stronger when it comes to movies than music (trying to rectify that starting January of this year when I finally broke down and purchased Spotify). But if I ever fall in love with something that doesn't have a review, I'd be more than willing to contribute.

Thing is, most of the albums I adore aren't exactly uncharted e.g. I have a very strong personal reaction to 'Kid A' that I'd love to write about, but it already has about twenty reviews on Sput so it's like, what's the point.

DoofDoof
October 22nd 2019


8513 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Optimistic 4, the third track was especial

tectactoe
October 22nd 2019


3593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hell yes Doof. Glad you enjoyed it. I think my favorite is still the opener, but Track 3 (Entire Worlds Encased in Ice) and Track 5 (Voidwalker) are my other highlights. To my mind, not a single 'bad' track here, though. I'm glad people are finally listening to this!

tectactoe
October 22nd 2019


3593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Cowardly neg, reveal yourself.



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