Vhorthax – Nether Darkness (Review)

VhorthaxVhorthax are a Russian death/black metal band and this is their debut EP.

What foul incantations and rituals resulted in the birthing of this release, I wonder? This is old-school, atavistic black metal, shot through with equally moribund death metal influences.

Decrepit and ancient, but still with enough twisted and bitter life left to unsettle and unnerve, the skillfully crafted music on Nether Darkness seems to worm out of the underworld with unhealthy, malevolent intentions.

The band play at multiple speeds, from venom-powered blast beats, to mid-paced ugliness, to slower, atmospheric crawls. The latter and middle ends of the spectrum are the preferred hunting grounds of Vhorthax, it seems, but they’re certainly not adverse to picking up the speed. Their approach is very effective, and these songs have really made a dark, malignant impression.

Vhorthax certainly have an ear for a memorable riff too. Whether infected with a blackened melody or a sickening groove, they clearly know what they’re doing with the daemonic energies that they’ve summoned.

The singer has a pitch black growl that’s superbly delivered. His voice growls like the void and speaks of never ending blackness. Backed up by scathing, inhuman screams, and other, less-typical deliveries, the vocal performances on this release are extremely satisfying.

With a recording that strikes the right balance between black metal’s icy occult aesthetics and death metal’s sinister muscularity, I don’t have any real criticisms of this EP. Well, except for the fact that I just want more.

The playing time altogether is just under 23 minutes, but features an intro and outro that take up about four minutes of this. With four actual songs in the middle, this EP makes for a brief, but very satisfying foray into the dank underworld of Vhorthax.

Seek out Vhorthax, and be prepared to worship.

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