Åland is an automous Finnish island off the country’s Southern coast. On the shores of Maarianhamina, the island’s largely Swedish-speaking capital, named after Maria Alexandrovna (the Empress consort of reform-minded Russian Tsar Alexander II), is where this gem of a band makes their home. Much like their their native island is a haven from EU duties and customs, so is the music of Vorum a reprieve from the incessant trends of Incantation worship which one would expect them to indulge in based on their album art. Instead their debut full length is delightfully dark interpretation of the legacy left by death metal bands of both the Scandinavian and Floridian strains back in the 90s. Sure, it’s a bit nostalgic but these days you can’t even open your front door without knocking over a patch-covered drummer in the middle of practice. It’s going to be around a while and with albums like this, it’s sure to win over even the most jaded modernist. Poisoned Void is an exemplary debut, ominous and yet brisk in its tempo changes and modest song lengths. It is a model and, with some proper recognition, should propel them to the vanguard of contemporary osdm.
Vorum run the gamut in terms of honoring the rich legacy of the death metal underground. Essentially, if you’re giddy about the Convulse reunion or find yourself regularly listening to Demigod‘s Slumber of Sullen Eyes or you swear by the first couple of Morbid Angel records, this is your band. The most notable thing however is that they excel in playing a nostalgic style of death metal by making sure to subtly elaborate in to the execution of each song. While much of the kitwork in OSDM can be the most insufferable plodding this side of doom metal, the drumming on cuts like ”Evil Seed” is vibrant and actively reacts to riffs and transitions. The soloing on ”Rabid Blood” and the aforementioned Evil Seed” is just as impeccable, it’s notes shrieking, haunting and never discordant. And don’t let my slobering over non-standard osdm elements mislead you, there is plenty in the way of chugging, crushing and hairwhip-inducing punishment. The title track closes the album out with some of the album’s most spellbinding phrases.
The musicianship on Poisoned Void demonstrates that these guys aren’t playing osdm from simply insufficient talent to play anything else. The composition reinforces this sense of conviction and it permeates the whole record. For decades, Finland has been the most metal nation on earth per capita but, regardless of the niche, it’s begun to reestablish itself as a center of quality. This is a sneakily masterful record, unassuming in its artwork and even first few minutes of play, but the attention to detail really shows that these island dwellers live this.
Out January 25th on Woodcut Records and Dark Descent Records in the US.