Dead & United
Review by Michael on September 13, 2022.
I don't know how the guys from Edged Circle Productions got this very special instinct for signing new bands with a very promising future (just to mention In Aphelion and AngelBlast with their latest releases) but I am pretty much impressed how regularly they throw out some of my personal musical highlights. And to anticipate my verdict about the upcoming Vathr EP Dead & United, this is one of my black metal highlights in 2022.
The approximate 20 minutes of Dead & United start with some spoken words and after this a Nordic blizzard is unleashed and the 'March Of The Dead' begins. Cold, eerie guitars howl through the winter night and some desperate, more spoken than sung chants summon the deceased in a northern winter forest near Bergen, where the band originated, to celebrate the dead. Vathr don't do fast black metal in the vein of Immortal or early Bathory here, no it is quite close to the glorious Aeternus or Hades (Almighty) and similar bands. The mid-tempo parts are very driving and intense and create a very dark and spooky atmosphere. In 'Messiah' the tempo is increased a little bit and this one turns out to be the catchiest song because of its somewhat black'n'roll structures and the very epic classic heavy metal guitar solo. Again parallels to the aforementioned bands are quite often to discover, especially the vocals sound like a bastard of these bands- not that harsh as Hades (Almighty) and not that sonorous as Aeternus - and this appear to me very attractive because it is pure passionate worship of old Norwegian black metal. The biggest surprise is the third and last track of this much too short EP. 'Crimson Cold Curse' (alliteration of the month!) is what the press info said about the release. “Vathr awakens the ancient spirit of black metal with this first step into the fire. For fans of “Blood, Fire, Death” era Bathory and early Nordic black metal.” Fuck, yes! This track is very much close to “Hammerheart” or “Twilight Of The Gods” that it is almost unbelievable. While listening to the track I always have the “Twilight Of The Gods” cover before my eyes. The vocals are kept a little bit more aggressive than Quorthon sung back then and with some distorted vocals the black metal aspect shines through a little bit more but from the music this is again pure worship.
As I said before, this is one of my highlights in the black metal genre in 2022 and I am really looking forward to the full-length album which will hopefully be released in 2023. Of course you can say that this release is just some tribute to Scandinavian black metal and not really innovative. But I don't need this innovation and I am pretty glad to listen to my old stuff from the 90s, sitting in my rocker and waiting for the reaper to get me. Do I have any point of criticism? Yes! 20 minutes is too short, much too short!! Because of this and because the full-length might have the potential to top this awesome piece of music I subtract a half point.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10 freezing moons164