Voidthrone – Kur (Review)

VoidthroneThis is the second album from Voidthrone, a US black metal band.

This is the follow up to the very enjoyable Spiritual War Tactics, which showcased the band’s keen ability when it came to dark, dissonant black metal that also employed doom and death metal elements very well. Of this album I said “If you smash together Ulcerate, Gorguts, Deathspell Omega and Wolvhammer and then cover everything in a grim blackened sheen, you’ll have a starting point for the filthy malevolence that Voidthrone put out into the world”, and this is something that still largely stands true, so I’ll just lazily reproduce this here.

Note the word ‘largely’, however; Voidthrone have essentially kept the base of their sound, but have expended upon it with additional death/doom elements, marking Kur out as a progression on from their debut album in scope and depth. It is, however, shorter than their already brief debut album, and with a duration of only 24 minutes feels more like an EP than a full album. A minor complaint to be sure, but I like Voidthrone, so I’d like to hear more from them.

Claustrophobic, dense, and filled with a swirling violence, this a bleak and grim album, but not one without atmosphere or emotive presence. Kur is a journey through the maelstrom, from safety to danger, to hopefully safety once more at the end of it. This is, of course, not guaranteed. Who knows what might happen as you work your way through the lands that Voidthrone take you through?

These lands are far off and alien, but are also surprisingly rich and fertile. This might not always be immediately apparent due to the band’s predilection for all things dark, grim, and esoteric, but a vibrant undercurrent of valuable material is there to be had, the listener need only scratch the surface.

Dissonant bleakness frequently wars with aggressive melodies, crushing doom guitars are cut off in their prime by technical workouts, while progressive structures are cast down by slithering, otherworldly riffs. Voidthrone are not a band for the uninitiated, as their music usually as a lot going on at any given time.

There’s more colour on Kur than there is on Spiritual War Tactics. In fact, if you compare the cover artwork of the two albums, this pretty much gives this development a visual form.

Voidthrone manage to somehow write music that’s both impenetrable and accessible at the same time. Or, put differently, even though this is not what you’d really call a catchy or memorable album in an obvious, instant-gratification way, if you’re well-weathered when it comes to extreme metal that’s complex and intricately delivered, then Voidthrone’s music is easy to get to grips with, despite how spiky and unfriendly it can seem. Persevere, and Kur offers many rich rewards.

Make sure you listen to Kur intently and absorb its multifaceted nature. Just be careful, as it’s not without risk, and I wouldn’t want to see you harmed by its inherently malicious nature…

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