M. – Drums
A. – Guitars, Vocals (backing)
J. – Vocals, Bass
1. Iron Spectres
3. Corpses of Fervor
4. Vanitas I
Vrexiza are a black metal band on the Signal Rex label, who will be releasing their self-titled debut album on 30th July, 2021 on cassette tape format. They were started in 2019 by the friends who go by the names of J., A., and M. Frustrated by the lack of genuine underground BM in the scene of their hometown Toronto, their goal was to put things right. They take influence from the now old French, Ukrainian and Finnish scenes and hate the pageantry often associated with more modern forms. Their album was recorded live off the floor and its four tracks last a total of 21 minutes. Their lyrics are inspired by wars of times long ago.
So, what’s it like? Well… Sigh. MORE black metal that copies a formula that has been around since the early 90s. That was a long time ago. Let’s put that into context: That was a time where Super Mario on the SNES was considered cutting edge technology. Small children would laugh at such a thought, perhaps suggesting such children would laugh at the band? Far from brutal. No, only joking. Ok, fair enough, Toronto now has a black metal act they can call their own, but for everyone else in the world, that’s not really going to matter very much, is it? Here you get pretty much all the cliches imaginable – tremolo picked guitars, dissonant harmonies, shrieks, blast beats, you name it. Making things worse, they tend to just go on and on.
Ok, the music isn’t flat out all the time, there are a range of tempos, and whilst often simple, some of the guitar and bass riffs are pretty good and create a very nice doomy sound. In all seriousness, I’m sure a Vrexiza concert would be lots of fun. Everyone headbanging and being miserable together. Great! It’s impressive the way the drummer has so much stamina and doesn’t keep screwing up. That takes dedication, and I guess the guitarist’s right hand needs to be pretty well trained, too. But how about more intelligence, rather than so much focus on technical skill?
In conclusion, Vrexiza offer nothing new to the genre whatsoever. Again, I’m sure Toronto will be very pleased with them, but I’m assuming few people will travel far to see them. I’m guessing black metal bands are everywhere. It’s easy to think that when you hear so many. It is pretty cool the way the album was recorded completely live, especially when I didn’t notice any mistakes, and I suppose that’s fitting when you consider the act was started to save the live scene, but I won’t be listening to it again. It’s not terrible, the music is actually perfectly reasonable, but it’s still not recommended.
Review by Simon Wiedemann