Wednesday, 18 November 2015

VHÖL - ‘Deeper Than Sky’ (Album Review)

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/10/2015
Label: Profound Lore Records


VHÖL has cobbled together one of the more memorable and exciting albums of the last five years from bits and pieces of various metal subgenres, all of which work together seamlessly. ‘Deeper Than Sky is an absolute joy to listen to. It sounds alive. Every ounce of energy put into creating this album is present in each and every note, and the results are intoxicating. It’s the sort of album that makes a person glad that metal was the phase they never grew out of.

‘Deeper Than Sky’ CD//LP//DD track listing:

1. The Desolate Damned
2. 3AM
3. Deeper Than Sky
4.  Paino
5. Red Chaos
6. Lightless Sun
7. The Tomb

VHÖL is:

Mike Scheidt | Vocals
John Cobbett | Guitar
Aesop Dekker | Drums
Sigrid Sheie | Bass

The Review:

VHÖL is all over the place, but in the best way. Over the course of the album, you’re going to run into speed metal, hardcore punk, thrash, prog, death and black metal if not more besides. If anything, VHÖL’s newest album, ‘Deeper Than Sky’ serves a single album lesson in just how strongly connected all of the various heavy metal subgenres are. That all of these superficially different styles of metal come together so nicely on a single album should probably tell us that we’re spending too much time wedging them so far apart in the first place.

As I’m writing this, ‘Deeper Than Sky’ has been out for several weeks, and has received heaps of praise from just about everyone I’ve seen write about it. Really, this is like tossing yet another single gold coin into Scrooge McDuck’s money bin, but the truth is that this album’s undeniable. Just about every song on the album is an embarrassment of riches, riff-wise. The only real exception to that rule is “Paino”, which is likely what you’re expecting given its title. As a novelty, it’s a lot of fun hearing a thrash song performed with a piano in place of guitar, but it’s still a novelty song. Still, as a mid-album palate-cleanser, it’s a nice addition.

The keys to VHÖL’s success with this album is imagination and energy. You get the sense that everyone involved is having the time of their lives putting this thing together. It’s as if everyone in the band was 100% on board for every insane flight of fancy every other band member had all at once. You’re not likely you’re going to find many bands willing to go along with the sort of extended prog break you’ll find about four minutes into the album’s title track, considering the songs trajectory up to that point. But it’s that willingness to, for lack of a better phrase, say “fuck it, let’s do it anyway!” that puts this album above so many others this year.

‘Deeper Than Sky’ also proves that you don’t necessarily need to look for non-metal genre bedfellows to create a fresh and exciting heavy metal album in 2015. There are dozens of bands out there forcing indie rock and shoegaze into their black metal albums with the care of a burnout shoving their stash into a mattress to hide it from the police. Meanwhile, VHÖL has cobbled together one of the more memorable and exciting albums of the last five years from bits and pieces of various metal subgenres, all of which work together seamlessly. ‘Deeper Than Sky is an absolute joy to listen to. It sounds alive. Every ounce of energy put into creating this album is present in each and every note, and the results are intoxicating. It’s the sort of album that makes a person glad that metal was the phase they never grew out of. 

You can pick up a digital copy here and a CD/CS copy here.


FFO: Darkthrone, Voivod, Hammer of Misfortune,

Band info: Facebook

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