Sunday, January 20, 2019 16:05

Posts Tagged ‘Vassafor’

VASSAFOR – MALEDICTION LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

Vassafor - MaledictionThis is one heavy record. Literally. It’s listed as 180g but feels more like 280 in my bony hands. Chunky as all fuck. Maybe it’s the oppressive, all-consuming chaos painstakingly pressed into the grooves of the deep black wax that weighs it down.

Either way, Vassafor’s aptly-titled second full-length, ‘Malediction’, is another monster from this stellar band, undoubtedly one of the finest dwelling in the decayed Black / Death underground. Considering that the New Zealand duo have been releasing high-quality music for more than two decades and have a sizeable canon of incredible material to their credit, it’s difficult to fathom that there are just two albums proper…

And even though there are only three new songs contained on here (‘Servitude’ and ‘Black Winds Victoryant’ are re-recorded versions of cuts that were included on the amazing ‘Elegy of the Archeonaut’ 2LP), ‘Malediction’ is nevertheless an outstanding exhibit of murky, cavernous, rumbling black doom that kicks off with the sensationally-disturbing 16-minute-plus ‘Devourer Of A Thousand Worlds’ and never lets up.

Everything about this album is magnificent, apart from the fact that I dropped my copy onto the platter (Although from no great height, it plummeted forcefully downwards, like an angry hippo’s stool) and etched a multitude of unwanted clicks into Side A. Too much weight for my feeble limbs.

Heavy gatefold jacket, inner sleeve and poster further bolster the gross weight, so you might want to visit the gym a few times before picking this substantial unit up.

Evilometer: 666/666


Monday, May 25th, 2015

Vassafor  Temple Nightside - Call of the MaelstromSomething of a no-brainer here so I won’t stand on ceremony. When two of the best Black / Death hordes from the other side of the globe come together for a one-off split vinyl release, there’s only one thing to do: hand over the mere €13 entry fee and proceed to spin the record over and over again.

Both these bands are utterly superb (and have been featured regularly on this blog – invariably picking up full marks); ‘Call Of The Maelstrom’ is equally essential in every way. Even if it doesn’t necessarily feature the best material that either act has put its name to thus far, it’s still fantastic stuff – 37 minutes of incredible dark art available for less than the price of most MLPs.

Evilometer: 666/666


Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Vassafor - Elegy of the ArcheonautTo be fair, ‘Elegy of The Archeonaut’ is a double album in every sense as it goes on forever and ever. I’m not sure what the exact running time is but it must be close to an-hour-and-a-half. This anthology collates most of Vassafor’s pre-‘Obsidian Codex’ material from the 1997-2007 era and it all makes for very interesting listening.

The downsides are obvious: as it wasn’t recorded as a whole, there is little in the way of coherency or consistency going on here and the flow of the records is further let down by the fact that the long songs are mostly frontloaded onto Sides A, B and C leading to a lack of balance. (By the way, Vassafor are at their best when delivering longer tracks.)

However, on the whole, ‘Elegy of The Archeonaut’ offers a priceless insight into the background of this great New Zealand band, spitting out a heady mix of Black, Death and Doom. Oppressive and crushing yet totally uplifting. Comes in a gatefold jacket with insert (included selected lyrics) and poster (yippee). Really great stuff.

Evilometer: 666/666


Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Vassafor Sinistrous DiabolusThis is a really great split featuring two New Zealand hordes, both of whom are pretty much at the height of their powers right now. Vassafor delivers two lumbering instalments of dull underground Black Metal on Side A, while Sinistrous Diabolus adopts a more doomy / cosmic black approach across three offerings segued into one on the flipside. In total, we get 44 minutes of magnificent dark and disturbing musick.

The link between the two bands is hyper-active dual member VK, also of course of Temple Nightside and Irkallian Oracle infamy. Vassafor’s sound is particularly low – in keeping with the analogue production ethos, one assumes – so I’ve had to crank the volume up even higher than usual.

Buried in the murkiness is a multitude of barely-concealed delights. That applies to both artists on view. Classy gatefold cover; no lyrics proffered. Watch out, too, for the imminent Vassafor / Temple Nightside split. Exciting times.

Evilometer: 555/666


Saturday, March 9th, 2013

This isn’t your standard 2LP in that it’s not one album spread across two records. It’s actually a double album, comprising over 94 minutes of ritualistic Death Metal with some doomy / sludge moments and a pervading Black Metal spirit. I don’t hear an awful lot of BM in the actual music, but there’s no denying that the analogue tone, cavernous feel and underground ethos of the album(s) are black to the core.

Apparently, these records are 180g each; they seem much more substantial. Each disc is a chunky slab of slate-like black, something you could use to decapitate your neighbour. Or your partner. The highlight of the journey for me is Side C (or, taking into account the misprint on the label, my second Side A!) which is wholly dedicated to the sublime, hypnotic, slow-paced ‘Nemesis’ – a stunning 24-minute offering.

Indeed, most of the songs are slow- to mid-paced and there’s a genuinely unnerving feel to the entire album(s), which reveals itself a little more with each listen. The gatefold cover is fantastic, with classy artwork and appropriate fonts used. My only small gripe is that there are no inserts and no lyrics included. But, fuck it, you can’t have everything…

For obvious reasons, this will cost more than your regular vinyl LP and postage and packaging could, nay will, be a bit steeper than usual. But it’s worth every penny. A mandatory purchase for anyone who fancies trying some non-conventional, swirling / churning underground Antipodean Death Metal (with the merest trace of Black).

Evilometer: 666/666