Saturday, March 28, 2015

ALBUM REVIEW: VON Dark Gods singles #7-12

To review, American pioneering primitive Black Metal act, VON have been releasing each track from their upcoming Dark Gods Part 2: Rise Of The Ancients album as singles with exclusive b-sides and a comic book illustrated by Venien. 2015 has brought us singles #6 onwards. See previous entries for reviews of singles 1-6, now it's time to review 7-12 as a lump... of blood, of course.

Dark Gods: 7
1. The Ritual Of The Black Mass
2. Sanctuary Of Lust (Bass Demo)

The A-side was previously released in 2013 as very limited advance single. It was still available via the band's website in digital format, but I can't seem to find it now. Admittedly, the website is as clunky, obscure, and difficult to navigate as the band's music, so it might still be lurking somewhere.

The 2013 version is 3:52 in length, this one is 6:07. It mostly is a slightly slower, slightly quieter version with a longer (near) silent intro and more repetition of the riff. It continues Von's current tendency towards sludgy riffs with a southern twist. I prefer the 2013 version for its mix and focus, but both are good. "Sanctuary Of Lust" sounds like it is only the bass tracks from the finished song and is near inaudible unless you have decent headphones, but this actually works. You feel uneasy because you're 'hearing' this creepy bass line play out, but are just barely aware of it. Good for playing in a dark room.

Dark Gods: 8
1. Black Lotus (Bass Demo)
2. Extinction

Continuing the eerie very quiet, bass-only formula of 'bass demo' versions of songs, Black Lotus starts very quietly then drops in some distorted vocals that sound like the spirit of a dying planet pulsing its throes through the ether of space. Minimalist keyboard backs it up and adds atmosphere. More dark room music!

"Extinction" starts with a drawling, southern acoustic guitar bit that feels like a corpse rotting away in a rocking chair on the Sawyer family's dusty porch. The song meanders about with this theme, feeling more like southern psychedelia than Black Metal. It's an interesting twist in Von's increasingly demented catalog.

Dark Gods: 9
1. Rise Of The Ancients
2. Behold! (Demo)

"Rise Of The Ancients," the title track of the upcoming album, again starts quietly, slowing building atmosphere with occasional distorted power chords breaking in to clobber you with heaviness. The vocals are as pissed and unintelligible as one could hope for from Von, minus the echoing of their early demos. THEN about 4:30 or so, the nastiness crashes in, and the track becomes very much classic in Von stylings; ritualistic, droning drums, distorted primitive guitar riff. Minimalistic all around. The song does bring in some more themes to play with after this bestial burst to close the track on a slow, depressive note, perhaps indicating the hopelessness of mankind, for the Ancients have risen.

"Behold!" marks another in the doomy and primitive annals of Von developing since Venien took over the project. It remains true to the primitivity of Von, but the riffs go more for depressive, minor key doomy progressions. A knuckle-dragging Neanderthal myself, I'm VERY into it!

Dark Gods: 10
1. The Council Of Seven
2. Birth (Demo)

"The Council Of Seven" opens with some atmospheric, cryptic notes sounding like depression in the next cave over, until the track smashes in with more doomy, primitive Von sounds. The production is a bit dirtier too, making this one of the oldest-sounding Von tracks. Imagine something from Satanic Blood Angel slowed down about 50% with a majestic finish and there you have it.

"Birth" is simply quiet and eerie, like something from Burzum's Filosofem playing in the background.

Dark Gods: 11
1. Architects Of Death
2. Death
3. Burn

"Architects Of Death" also has a Burzum Filosofem feel in style and production, so that's a hell of a start there! It drones on, not really varying much.

"Death" is a bit more active and feels more like classic Von played with a Norwegian Black Metal riffing style.

"Burn" is BY FAR the oldest sounding material and is indispensable to the classic Von fanatic.

Dark Gods: 12
1. Tombs
2. Blind God (Bass Demo)

"Tombs" opens with some reverb/echoed out acoustic parts much like "Extinction." The guitars get heavier and play with the theme a bit before fading out.

"Blind God" has creepy bass production and stands well on its own for atmosphere but I'm very interested to hear the complete version.

*Review and photos copyright The Samnambulist, 2015*

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