Surrender to the dark side of Thrash Metal, offered to you by one of the most promising Scandinavian bands of the past few years.
Although the year of 2015 is almost coming to its end, it seems there are still tons of awesome metal bands with considerable amounts of fuel to burn, providing us fans unbounded reasons to keep banging our heads nonstop like maniacs. This is precisely the case with Norwegian Blackened Thrash Metal desecrators Vingulmork, who before the curtains of this chaotic year close are releasing their cataclysmic debut full-length album entitled Chiaroscuro. The name of the album might be the junction of the Italian words “chiaro” (clear or bright) and “oscuro” (dark), but don’t expect to find any light in their music. It’s sheer darkness, architected in such a thrilling and virulent way you’ll be mercilessly knocked out like Ronda Rousey before the album is over.
Forged in 2012 at the very depths of Oslo, Norway, Vingulmork released their debut EP named The Long March at the beginning of 2014, but it’s now with Chiaroscuro that this talented quartet aims at conquering the world of heavy music with their inhumane combination of the unquestioned verve from Thrash Metal with the evildoing and perversity of Black Metal. If you hold true passion for the music by bands such as Skeletonwitch, Old Man’s Child and Dissection, the music by Vingulmork (which translated from Old Norse means “the forest of fescues”) brings forward all the elements needed to foster that darkest side of yours.
And Vingulmork don’t give you a single second to breathe before their sonic devastation begins in the magnificent Collapse and Rebuild, a brutal composition that summarizes their music style by blending the riveting riffs from Thrash Metal with the obscure growls from Black Metal. In addition, Frontman Jostein Stensrud Køhn sounds like he’s possessed by an evil entity so aggressive his vocals are, while drummer Simen Kandola delivers beats inspired by the greatest drummers from the Bay Area Thrash. As destructive as the opening track, Hold Your Ground provides an accelerated feeling as if a heart attack is about to come, with guitarist Martin Kandola offering the listener his evil-inspired riffs amidst pure Thrash Metal music. And that’s just the beginning of Chiaroscuro, my friends.
Don’t get deceived by the calm acoustic intro from the chant beautifully entitled (I Am) The Darkness You Can Touch, as it quickly morphs into a dark sounding with elements of Death Metal that will violently kick you in the head. Jostein growling like a demon, together with some interesting breaks leading into some pure Black Metal moments and its lugubrious lyrics (“I will lay waste to your sense of belief / Replace all pleasure with anguish and grief / I will demolish all ways to control / I will take hold of and bury you”), turn this ode to obscurity into one of the top moments of the album without a shadow of a doubt. In The Haunting, the band delivers a melodic and ferocious onslaught of metallic music in less than 3 minutes, reminding me of the high-octane Thrash/Death Metal by Skeletonwitch, while Old Hate flirts with Melodic Death Metal but with extra dosages of wickedness added to the sounding, not to mention the great job done by Martin with his sick guitar riffs accompanied by the intricate bass lines by Steffen Grønneberg.
With an enraged Simen on drums, their dark metal machine keeps rolling and smashing everyone and everything in From Promise, a straightforward tune that will ignite some serious mosh pits during their live performances, with highlights to the beyond bestial vocals by Jostein, and don’t stop banging your head or slamming into the pit because Vingulmork offer us all Painting Lives, another insane track where there’s even time for a catchy chorus that will stick into your mind for a long period of time (“Every moment counts / And everything amounts / To pull apart is not an art / And so we count all that amounts”).
The two last arias in Chiaroscuro are just as nefarious as the rest of the album, starting with the striking White Dress, Black Heart, with yet another demented performance by the entire band, in special by Jostein and Simen. This is at the same time the most Thrash Metal and the most Death Metal of all tracks, which obviously elevates its quality to a whole new level of carnage, also presenting thoughtful lyrics that make total sense if you know how harsh the winter can be (“The winter is grinding knives / It will take another life / Cutting through frozen flesh / Claims a mark in every bone”). And closing this top-notch album we have their most obscure and disturbed tune, It Will Suffice, where the band definitely embraces darkness by showcasing their strongest Black/Doom Metal vein. A lesson in extreme music by this incredible Norwegian act, where the music cuts like a sharp razor until it fades away into a melancholic and demonic finale.
To get a taste of what Vingulmork have to offer in Chiaroscuro, you can visit their Facebook page or take a listen at the official album preview by Crime Records, but I’m pretty sure you’ll almost instantly go grab your copy of the album at the Crime Records webstore or at CD Baby. Forget about the never-ending war between darkness and light, simply surrender to the dark side of Thrash Metal offered to you by one of the most promising Scandinavian bands of the past few years. You will not repent that.
Best moments of the album: Collapse and Rebuild, (I Am) The Darkness You Can Touch and White Dress, Black Heart.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2015 Crime Records
1. Collapse and Rebuild 3:38
2. Hold Your Ground 3:17
3. (I Am) The Darkness You Can Touch 5:24
4. The Haunting 2:36
5. Old Hate 2:59
6. From Promise 3:29
7. Painting Lives 3:34
8. White Dress, Black Heart 2:23
9. It Will Suffice 5:45
Jostein Stensrud Køhn – vocals
Martin Kandola – guitar
Steffen Grønneberg – bass
Simen Kandola – drums