Vassafor – To The Death

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Released: 2020
Buy Album: https://vassafor.bandcamp.com/
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Vassafor

Band line-up:

VK – Guitars, Vocals & Bass
BP – Drums

Tracklisting:

1. To The Death
2. Egregore Rising
3. Eyrie
4. Black Talon
5. The Burning Ithyr
6. Emanation from the Abyss
7. Singularity

Review

New Zealand’s Vassafor have returned with their third studio album: “To The Death,” released on the prominent label, Iron Bonehead Productions. It’s interesting to read about a band who pride themselves on being different from others in their scene, and whilst I’m not very familiar with NZ’s black metal community, they are definitely a worthy introduction.

This new tome of what they describe as “Archaic Black Metal that exists outside of time,” is a fairly intriguing piece, though “outside of time” felt a little too out-there for me when I put it on. To begin with, the opening track “To The Death” felt all over the place. One moment it feels like a slow dirge as you enter the underworld, the blasts kick in and then there’s hysterical laughter from backing vocalists which made me frown more than once. Occultism and the esoteric is on Vassafor’s agenda, but the execution was a tad off-putting.

As is the case with starting a good book, I’ve always felt that a good opening track can be good for an album, and this sadly was not the case. However, as the album progressed, I began to enjoy this record more. Second track “Egregore Rising” felt far more promising and had me thinking of mid-period Mayhem but not too challenging for the attention span. Following on from an opener that made me picture the band saying: “hey look at this!” and taking the audience down a whole new path just to appear avant-garde, I felt satisfied.

Said pathway continued on “Eyrie” and “The Burning Ithyr” which utilises a flowing grind of sound, like a stone in a watermill grinding grain into dust. Here is an album which screams potential and had me wanting to know more about this band, so my only peeve with this was the opening track.

Closing track “Singularity” was also promising but 17 minutes was a little too much. Overall, what makes Vassafor worth listening to is its ambiguity. They are a band you find intriguing in their take on the genre and that intrigue piques the curiosity making you want to hear more. I will certainly be following these guys more in years to come.

Review by Demitri Levantis

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