Label Roundup: Vendetta Records – Gespenst, Aristarchos & Lurid (Reviews)

Wonderbox Metal gets sent a lot of new music, (which is great), but there’s no way that everything can get covered unfortunately, (which is not so great). This new column hopes to redress this balance, if only slightly, by taking a look at a handful of releases that a record label has recently sent out that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

For the very first one of these columns I thought I’d pick the below three from Vendetta Records. I have a high opinion of this label’s output, and these releases reinforce that. I would ideally have covered each one of these individually, but sadly there’s just not enough time to give everything its proper due. In lieu of that, let’s see what you think of these three below…

Gespenst - Den Sidste FærdGespenst – Den Sidste Færd – Black Metal – Denmark

Second wave black metal meets funeral doom and dark ambient? Sign me up! This is the sort of album to lose yourself in, as the darkness wraps itself around you and the world just seems to fall away…

Gespenst’s second album features grim atmospheric melody and gloomy moods in abundance. Dissonance and bleak majesty collide in sweeping vistas of pained darkness. A range of speeds, from blast beat to funeral dirge, are effectively used to build atmosphere and sustain it across a far too brief 31 minutes.

On top of the evocative music sit vocals that are savage screams in the night. They pierce the listener through the layers of musical textures that can be found here, hooking them and drawing them in to the music’s shrouded embrace.

This album is well-written and Gespenst clearly have a talent for this sort of doom-infused atmospheric raw black metal.

This is very good. Make sure that you check out Den Sidste Færd.

Aristarchos - AristarchosAristarchos – Aristarchos – Black Metal – Scotland

The debut album from Scottish band Aristarchos is a 40-minute journey into the realms of the avant-garde and the atmospheric.

The combination of engaging riffs and cold otherworldly atmosphere that is presented here is exemplary. There are grim melodic highlights aplenty, while the keyboard elements swamp the music in layers of dread and malignant auras. The daemonic screams and shadowy exaltations urge the listener to leave it all behind, to stare into the void and jump headfirst into its dark embrace.

All four songs are very enjoyable and satisfying, and the songcraft in general is of a very high standard. Even the intro track sets the scene nicely, rather than being the usual waste of space that such tracks almost always are. I’m not sure whether this is a band or a solo act, (I get the impression it’s the latter?), but either way, the artist(s) behind this band have created something very, very good indeed.

If you’re a fan of bands like Nightbringer and Akhlys then I heartily recommend that you check out Aristarchos.

Lurid - DemoLurid – Demo – Black Metal – US

We’re off to the US now for this 12-minute, two-song demo by Lurid. The style is raw and melodic, with the sort of deep, cavernous growling vocals that sound both terrifying and brutal. I feel compelled to dwell on the vocals for a bit, actually, as they’re hideously good. I like growls in black metal, and these are particularly well-performed. Monstrous.

The music behind these vocals is pretty tasty too. Played in the classic style, with plenty of melodic bite and an aggressive demeanour, both tracks hit the spot nicely and really bode well for the future. A mix of paces can be heard, and the atmospheric component of the songs is not to be sniffed at. The melodies deployed are strong and hummable, and both songs play to the band’s obvious strengths.

Honestly, I could listen to this kind of stuff all day long. Lurid are a band to keep a firm eye on, as this brief hit of blackened hatred holds much promise for things to come.

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