Contrary to popular belief old school death metal connoisseurs are of open mind. Play it well and we accept you whole heartedly. Play it like crap and you’re thrown into the deepest bowels of ignorance never to be even glanced at again by the death metal hordes. The band in question here, Vorum, is a 4 piece band from Finland, the land that has given us bands like Lantern and Krypts in the near past. Undoubtedly the land is the dormant hub in the world of new school of revivalist old school metal. However, as I was saying, all Vorum has done prior to this record has been a small 20 minute EP entitled ‘Grim Death Awaits’ back in 2009 and a split with a certain Vasaeleth, a US band with a cult following, and yet the band has gained an eager fan base in the current death metal scene.
Released earlier this year, the debut LP by the band entitled ‘Poisoned Void’ consists of 8 tracks, including 1 from the aforementioned split with Vasaeleth, which all together last for 35 minutes. Produced by a small label called Woodcut records which till date has dealt with less than 10 Finnish extreme metal bands and boasting of artwork by Alexander L. Brown who has leant ink to bands like Heresiarch, Lantern, Mitochondrion and Withchrist, the music contained within this release is a no frills, unconcealed and straightforward assault on the willing or unwilling listener. Compared to the EP that helped this band gain a reputation for sincere, no time to waste death metal, Poisoned Void is rather different. While the EP’s 8 tracks lasted 20 minutes, this albums’ 8 tracks last 35. Except the final title track which lasts 7 minutes all the other track are in the usual 3-4 minute category.
Apart from track lengths while ‘Grim Death Awaits’ borrowed heavily from death metal lords Incantation and Autopsy this album seems to be a mixture of Swedish, Finnish and US death metal. Contemptuously using the chainsaw riffs made famous by Swedish swamis like Entombed, Dismember and Nihilist, backed by the innate heaviness which was emblematic in the Finnish scene because of bands like Convulse and Demigod meshed together with the symbolic murkiness and song writing of bands like Autopsy, Vorum has released an album that while has underlying influences in every aspect permeates a knowledge of effective and original death metal throughout. The strong point of the band is definitely the guitarwork and song writing skills. The guitarwork uses the typical throaty screamed vocals which even though is nothing spectacular is well executed and the drumming which alternates between blastbeats which thrust the band to the next level or simple drumming in the background as support to give the album its focal point. Most of the album is up-tempo except for the rare Autopsy-ian doomy riff here and there. Coming back to the guitarwork, the dual guitars with the catchy riffs, razor sharp rhythms and melodic tremolo picked solos make for the bread and butter of the band as compared to the EP which relied on brutality and heaviness. The murky guitars occasionally carry a raw black metal tinge to it which help create the dark mood present here. The ability of the band to know when to throw in the doomy section or the face melting melodic solos or churn out high quality and catchy riffs and when to stop is a definite highlight of the album. The way the guitars with its oozy rottenness entwine each other and yet give each other enough breathing space is the glue that holds together the whole band and moulds into a lean mean cohesive unit. The production is real good, and really helps the band attain the old school sound it wishes to achieve.
The approach showcased here is a gimmick free and simple albeit effective one. The band hasn’t pushed the boundaries in any way whatsoever but mixed together known elements in the proper proportion to give the old schoolers an album they will truly appreciate because of the consistency, the fact that every track here has something to offer and an unforgiving intensity throughout without going over the top or trying too hard. Keep this one here in mind, it will surely make your albums of the year list.
SCORE - 86/100