Vargrav – Netherstorm

Rating: 2/5
Released: 2018
Label/Distributor: Werewolf Records
Label/Distributor URL: https://werewolfrecords.bandcamp.com/
Buy Album: https://werewolfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/netherstorm
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Vargravhatelust/

Band Line up

V-Khaoz – All Instruments/Vocals

Album Track Listing
  1. Netherstorm
  2. Shadowed Secrets Unmasked
  3. Limbo of Abysmal Void
  4. Ethereal Visions of a Monumental Cataclysm
  5. Obedient Intolerant Ensnared
  6. (Outro) In Divine Embrace of the Dying Light
  7. The Glory of Eternal Night (Bonus)
  8. Ancient Queen (Bonus)
Video

Review

Finland is such a wondrous hotbed for all sorts of Metal genres. The Death Metal tends to be unbelievably heavy, and the Black Metal is often amongst the bleakest and rawest around. Sadly Vargrav do not fit into either category nor do they offer much individuality. Indeed, they are a band without anything resembling originality. “Netherstorm” is not terrible, but is also not impressive. In many ways, it just exists.

The album is ushered in with the title track; its eerie and protracted intro, while adequate, fails to build to a crescendo or remain interesting. When it springs into life it is little more than midpaced symphonic drudgery. In this writer’s opinion, it says precious little of note because a) it is far too saccharine sweet, and b) it comes across like Dimmu-lite. It is also far longer than it has any right to be. “Shadowed Secrets Unmasked” fails to improve matters. In fact, it is so much akin to Dimmu Borgir at their most accessible that it had me wondering if V-Khaoz had actually been cloned from the DNA of Shagrath and Silenoz. And so it goes on. The same tiresome template is utilised for both “Limbo of Abysmal Void” and “Ethereal Visions of a Monumental Cataclysm”, and had me wondering if the band were one trick ponies. Credit is due, therefore, for the execution of “Obedient Intolerant Ensnared”. Although their attempts to sound epic and atmospheric are vapid and a little forced, at least it is different from the tedium of the previous tracks. Proceedings are concluded with the dreamstate outro “In Divine Embrace of the Dying Light”, a well performed and dark exit stratagem.

There are also two bonus tracks. “The Glory of Eternal Night” is a frenzied ditty, in which the band finally bear their teeth and get savage. It had me perplexed as to why it was not included on the main album. The guitars have considerable bite and the keyboards provide decent augmentation as opposed to dominating. The second bonus track is a satisfactory cover of Emperor’s “Ancient Queen”.

Perhaps I am being hypercritical of Vargrav. It is just that seem to have a template which they rigidly stick to with a few notable exceptions. Almost every track begins slowly then whimpers when it should roar; a splurge of neutered guitars and sugary, domineering synths. I hesitate to say, but it comes across as X Factor Black Metal.

Review by Owen Thompson
Share