(Wil Cifer reviews the debit album by New York City’s Vorde, released last month by Fallen Empire.)
Fallen Empire Records keeps their streak of great black metal alive with Vorde. Vorde are not strangers to the scene, with members in Fell Voices and Ruin Lust. The album opens with the kind of dark ambience commonly found with projects on the label’s roster. When the metal erupts it’s fairly straightforward black metal, until the vocals come in.
The vocals are a distant, gurgled moan that hovers over the faster riffs. It sometimes rises into something closer to singing, accented with a punchy rasp. The use of clean vocals set against the dissonance and airy bleakness called forth is similar to Urfaust. At times the singer’s delivery is not unlike Attila’s, as opposed to the singer from Urfaust who has slightly more command to his vocal tone.
The drumming spirals around this in a pretty impressive display, creating a chaotic element that adds to the overall sonic density.
The album’s most metal moments might be found on the song “Transformations of the Vessel”. The band blasts ahead with the moans bellowing out in the icy backdrop. “Blood Moon” mixes ambience with storming drums before building into another blasting burst of black metal. The first lyric cuts through the din as “my final whisper”, as the guitar attack swells, bringing more meat to the sonic explorations.
The dynamic and clean guitar tones are among the band’s strong points. They add some of the more hypnotic qualities to the black metal drone. This is where you here a resemblance to Fell Voices. This use of heavily effected sonics is well-executed in “Crown of Black Flame”. The echoing cavern in which Fell Voices record their music must have been used for this album as well.
The album closes with “Funereal Vortex”, starting off on a similar left hand path as Mayhem might take, before winding up in a more atmospheric and almost Cure-like place in the final two minutes.
This is one of those albums that takes several listens to digest. Vorde take you on an impressively dynamic journey. You will still be soaking it in after repeat listens. It upholds Fallen Empires’ track record and is a bold stab at a different take on black metal. A dramatic step out of the comfort zone of all the players involved, they have captured some great sounds here, some of which will be familiar to fans of their respective bands, even coming from this darker and more melodic place.