When the Canadian collective Vortex begin work on a new album their songwriting approach differs from that of most extreme metal bands. They begin with a story, crafting chapters in a narrative that then become the basis for the songs. The music takes shape based on the feeling of the tale, and because of that the musical ingredients shift with the story. In the case of Vortex and their newest album The Future Remains In Oblivion, those ingredients draw upon death metal and black metal, with helpings of orchestration, and are both scathing and richly melodic.
Like the band’s last two albums, The Asylum (2016) and Lighthouse (2018), their new one is thus a concept record, a continuous lyrical and musical narrative. Today we present one of those musical chapters in advance of the album’s release on June 9th.
The songwriting approach of Vortex isn’t the only aspect of the band that’s out of the ordinary. Certainly, the lives of the members don’t fit most stereotypes. As the band explain: “Some of us have children and we all have jobs most people wouldn’t think were for a death metal musician. We count a business director, a paramedic, a wind farm manager, a big corporation team manager, and a music composer in our ranks. Two of the band members are schooled musicians.”
This, however, hasn’t prevented them from performing live — they’ve played about 200 shows together until now, even when that has required drives of 6, 8, 10, and even sometimes 14 hours from their home base in Rimouski, Quebec.
But let’s get back to the new album and the song we’re about to present. This new full-length begins with a natural cataclysm — devastating solar flares, which are presented in the album opener “Death Comes from the Sun“. Those lead to the collapse of society in “Downfall” and the rise of a wood-be savior in “The Fool.”
The next chapter takes shape in the song we’re premiering today: “The Walls“. In the band’s words: “Our Fool got all sorts of people to believe and follow him. Billionaires, soldiers, engineers, contractors, scientists, farmers, physicians, etc. They’ve put everything they’ve got into building a secret small city that is protected by reinforced walls and an arsenal. Inside these walls, they have everything they need to survive any cataclysm and its aftermath.”
The song relates these developments in heart-pounding fashion. It creates a sense of anticipation with rapidly throbbing electro-pulses, momentous drums, and bursts of symphonics that include frenzied violin strings. From there, the drums begin hammering and the music swells and sweeps, Yet there’s a dark and downcast feeling in those sweeping sounds, and madness in the screaming vocals.
The song’s multi-faceted nature is further revealed in harrowing and haughty growls, jolting chords, and fiery sunbursts of sound, as well as through a swirling melodic guitar solo that spectacularly sends the song into the stratosphere. The song’s finale is itself a full-power spectacle that really gets the adrenaline surging.
Turning back to the album as a whole, we’ll share these further thoughts from the band:
When writing, our goal was to keep an important melodic aspect while elevating the energy level with our live show in mind. A friend from a well-known metal band heard some of the songs and said they sounded like Dimmu Borgir with Suffocation riffs, I suppose it was a compliment. We feel the album is a good combination of aggression/melody, ugliness/beauty and will appeals to fans of Shadow of Intent, Septic Flesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Lorna Shore, and I suppose… Dimmu Borgir.” – Vortex
Justin L’Italien Dubé – Piano and Drums
Simon Desjardins – Bass
Alexandre Labrie – Vocals
Dany Levesque – Guitar
Mathieu Duguay – Guitar and Orchestrations
The new album was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Pierre Luc Demers (Studio Ondechoc), and it features cover art by Rudi Gorging Suicide.For more info about the album, check out the locations linked below. We’ve also included the official music video for the album track “First Blood” — a chapter that eventually follows the one we’re presenting today, in which outside forces mount an attack on the Fool’s walled sanctuary.