Is this an EP or an album? The promo blurb says album, but then it only contains two tracks and lasts a total of 17 minutes. Either way, it’s worth getting your hands on, as Vow’s experimental post-metal is very tasty indeed.
The first track is the 13-minute title track. It starts with a gentle shimmering of delicate melody, and builds expectation with an understated percussive presence. Then the melodic heaviness enters, along with some serrated screams. It kind of reminds me of Pelican if they had a blackgaze influence. Things continue to get heavier and darker as the song progresses, with brutal dissonance eventually making way to a slow and heavy doom section, undercut by a subtle tension that’s highly effective.
After seven minutes a lighter, introspective side appears from the blackened aggression, and the song enters an atmospheric phase that’s quite compelling. It falls somewhere between Mogwai and Cult of Luna, and I like it a lot. Eventually it erupts into blackened post-metal resplendence, and flows with melodic energy to a fitting emotive close. Icarion is a fine song, and it’s a shame it’s the only one here.
The second and final track is a remix of the first. It’s a 4-minute stripped-back interpretation that features percussion, electronics, and vocals only. It’s significantly different from the original, but complements it well. Imagine an understated Aphex Twin track, throw in some post-hardcore-esque screams and other vocals, and you’ll have a rough idea of what it sounds like.
This is my first encounter with Vow, but I like what I hear. Let’s hope they have a full length in them somewhere.
Highly recommended for connoisseurs of experimental post-metal.