(DGR wrote this review of the new EP by Sweden’s Volturyon.)
Volturyon are one of those groups I came to incredibly late. I had heard the name before, but my attention wasn’t directed toward them until the guys who made up the band started appearing in other projects I had been listening to — in this case, drummer Christian Netzell, who at the time was playing in In Mourning, and vocalist Alexander Högbom, who turned up in October Tide. Later, bassist Oskar Pålsson from Coldworker would join their lineup as well, but I don’t know if he contributed to Human Demolition. It was, however, one of those coincidences that make the band seem like a death metal explosion built out of the most volatile chemicals that they could find.
The timing of my discovery would prove fortuitous because the band had started hinting at new material, yet I still had enough time to explore, and genuinely enjoy, their earlier works — just so I knew what I would be in for. However, what I hadn’t expected was that when Volturyon took just enough time to put out an EP, they were going to condense the very best of their sound down into four songs and a real quick intro — and genuinely surprise me with some of my favorite material to date.
Long story short, I knew Human Demolition was going to be good, but I did not think it was going to be this good. It’s one of the few discs this year that has left me with whiplash because I couldn’t resist whipping what is left of my glorious mane up and down in rapid-fire sync with the music.
photo by Erik Birgerson
Every song on this EP feels written to cause instant headbanging. Prior to this review, I had been sending our lovely editor messages about how Human Demolition felt like a hammer dropping after its intro, and then twelve minutes of non-stop headbanging would commence. Thing is though, I wasn’t fucking around. Once that first note hits in “Concrete Devotion”, don’t expect to have clear vision for the next fifteen minutes — it’s like being jolted forward by electricity.
“Concrete Devotion” on its own is making a serious play for our Most Infectious list this year. It’s just a relentless, groove-heavy, steamroller of a track that sounds like it was Frankensteined together out of the pool of influences to which Bloodbath paid tribute. The song is Swedish Death Metal distilled. Probably a bit too well-produced for those who like their metal with a thick layer of murk on the top, but the song is a piston-driven track. It’s precise and surgical in its heaviness, and Alexander Högbom’s roars give the track extra firepower, especially when they just devolve into animalistic grunting and screeching with blasts behind it all.
“Dermal Smoothie” is a mid-tempo offering that, despite an awesome name, loses out just due to the megalithic strength of the tracks located around it. There are definitely some key moments — I can’t help but growl along with the “Delicious, Delicious!” stanza — but with the faster offerings that follow, “Dermal Smoothie” loses on the draw.
Title track “Human Demolition” is one of constant war, both in sound of the song itself and in the fact that it’s battling it out with “Concrete Devotion” for best on the EP. The song just barrels forward, fueled by a driving riff that is easy to pick up on and so awesome that every time it builds up to the point where it stops for a quick second, you can’t help but thrust your hand in the air like you’re the one who caused it.
The last track, “Barbaric Bludgeoning”, is one that starts off mid-tempo again, with a grinding riff that seems to even the EP out at two really fast songs and two slowed-down tunes. However, it quickly becomes a smattering of blasts that moves the song into “Concrete Devotion” and “Human Demolition” territory.
The Human Demolition EP is one of those releases that feels like an explosion that will redirect everyone’s attention away from their surroundings. It’s such a strong release that if this serves as a proof of concept as to what Volturyon are working on, then we should probably fish out the big rubber stamp that says, “Absofuckinglutely” on it and approve this. I often muse about albums serving as a quick hit to the system, especially in the grind category, but this album is another one of those — a rush of death metal that blindsides you and then ends, oftentimes repeating before you even notice.
With three really strong songs and one pretty good tune, Volturyon have put out an under-the-radar EP that deserves a lot more attention — because this disc is fun to listen to, and lately it has been my go-to in order to kick off a shift at work. While I did have it on my radar, it was always one that was somewhat on the outskirts, but now that I’ve heard it, Human Demolition has moved itself to dead center. Now I am incredibly interested in what Volturyon may be putting out in the future. At fifteen minutes you owe it to yourself to give this EP a spin if you’re a death metal fan, and then watch as it expands into an hour or two of repeats.