Deeper Than Sky
Review by Brian on September 24, 2015.
After hearing who this band was comprised of and being on Profound Lore, I was destined to like them. This is John Cobbett of Hammers of Misfortune, a guitar wizard and true riff master. Round that out with the rhythm section of fellow HOM bandmate Sigrid Sheie on bass and Agalloch drummer Aesop Dekker to lay the backdrop for Yob frontman Mike Scheidt's amazing vocals. After hearing their self-titled debut 2 years ago, I learned Vhöl wasn't using the names of all their successful bands to sale you guano, which happens too often. Instead this is well written, well executed crusty black metal with the ever present traditional metal riffing of Cobbett. But it is songs like "Plastic Shaman" and "Arising" that were more thrash inspired that laid the ground work for Deeper Than Sky.
On their sophomore release Vhöl builds off it's predecessor. It furthers it's psychedelic landscape with some portentous guitar work from Cobbett. This time around the black metal gives way to thrash/speed metal approach. "The Desolate Damned" kicks the album off in high gear. It goes 0 to a 100 right from the gate. It's speedy melodic layered guitar along with the thunderous drumming and groovy bass line provide the perfect backdrop for Scheidt's soaring traditional metal wails. The title track clocks in at 12 minutes featuring some insane speed metal riffing with aggressive semi-harsh vocals that drift into Halford-esc screams. It then floats off into psychedelic heaven for half the song before returning to it's crushingly heavy glory. Album closer "The Tomb" has the band back in their blackened state.Their is some insane riffs here, twisting and turning at various speeds of fast with cosmic atmosphere. It's bombastic sonic dismembering melts into a full on psychedelic climax that leaves the listener wanting more and the band on a high note.
Vhöl is a band where the whole is equal to the sum of its parts. These are all talented musicians with very successful bands that have come together to annihilate listeners with it's brand of heavy metal. There's thrash, psychedelia, crust, punk and black metal influences, all of it fast. The vocals range from powerful clean passages to dark insalubrious screams and growls. Deeper Than Sky furthers their musical exploration and for a second time has Vhöl light-years ahead of their peers.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10