Nov 102023

Near the end of December 2022 the Crawling Chaos label released In the Tower of Ivory, the fifth album by the German band Vargsheim. In the run toward that release we premiered a video for a song that all by itself demonstrated how diverse this trio’s musical interests are, and how adept they are at bringing them together.

As we wrote then about that song (the album’s title track), “You’ll get a feeling of free-ranging but carefully thought-through experimentation at work…. As it slowly builds and then begins to morph and contort you can pick out bits and pieces of doom, psychedelia, prog, and rock, entwined like vines through a daunting framework of black metal”.

Now we’ve got a reminder of Vargsheim‘s talents with yet another video premiere (this one a lyric video) for a song off In the Tower of Ivory. This one is the album’s penultimate track, “The Third Eye“.

This one, like the album as a whole, again demonstrates the shape-shifting creative abilities of the brothers Kaelt (guitars/vocals) and Harvst (bass/vocals) and drummer/violinist Naavl (all of whom have also been live members of Imperium Dekadenz).

It begins like the staggering movement of a massive black beast. As the drums thud and crack the distorted chords create a dismal harmony and the frightening words come forth in vicious snarls and howls, which rise in screams of passion. It may bring to mind doom-death metal rather than black metal, and even more so when the lead guitar adds its own riveting tones of despair to the grim, earth-shaking progression.

The contrast in the music between the heavy abrasiveness of the chords and the ring of the leads is an effective one, and if you don’t already know this about Vargsheim, the music further showcases the band’s ability to create memorable hooks, even when the mood is as desolate and the vocals as shattering as they are here.

But don’t think the vocals are the only element of “blackening” in “The Third Eye“. In the final minute, the music erupts in turmoil, the drums furiously hammering, the riffs slashing and writhing, the lead instrument (hard to tell if it’s a guitar or Naavl‘s violin) burning in a delirious, attention-seizing fever.

Crawling Chaos has released In the Tower of Ivory on CD, vinyl, and digital formats, and you can get more info about those options via the links below.

In terms of thematic content, “the album deals with human arrogance, the rampant civilization diseases of narcissism and craving for recognition, and their effects on the world”. After the links you’ll find a full stream of the album as a whole.



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