Rapping against my skull as it kicks its furious and fleet-footed sledge upon the drum of my mind the alarm that pierces ear immobilizes what little remaining adrenaline surges through instantly dead body as all gravity ceases. Solar winds whip magnetosphere aloft cursing all descent, unimaginable frost burns away limb, and the great vacuum implodes all vital vessel and vesicle remaining. Deaths merciless pace ends this agony without allowing even a moment of defeat. If there is any nature man can claim as true environs it surely isn’t the blackness of Hell, the void of space. Primal fear and the dreadful scold of existence swirls in the cosmic cackling of ‘Radiant Gloom’, an ever-expanding force that would blast its oppressive black metal from the mouth of Karlsruhe, Germany based Vorga, a multi-national incorporation hurling wave of destruction wherever assimilation isn’t feasible.
With the insistent blast of post-‘At the Heart of Winter’ Immortal and the rueful modern intensity of Blood of Serpents (and/or more recent Ragnarok releases) at their behest Vorga absolutely tear and plunder the ear with the insistent terrorism of their debut EP. It expresses as if Necrophobic‘s present day sonic fidelity would match Marduk‘s streamlined, roaring heaviness with erasure of old and obviate melodic triteness; There is a modern heft to the motion of Vorga that is satisfying as it is asphyxiating. Every second of this EP is rapacious and insistent as if true darkness would seep through any crevice that oxygen allowed, it suffocates the mind into acceptance. It feels as if pulled from the early 2000’s melodic black metal scene but stripped of cornball guitar hero excess and flailing keyboard fuckery until resting upon an aggressive medium of semi-melodic battery. ‘Viktoria’ had this quality in it’s first half and Astrophobos‘ most recent record was ‘almost there’ in terms of creating the force necessary for launch but I’d say Vorga come with the absolute right attack power for this style of black metal.
Allow some backpedaling for a moment as I’d better clarify that this isn’t a melodic black metal record but that ‘Radiant Gloom’ arrives with impressive musical qualities on par with some of the now aging greats. Some of this affect comes with experience, each of these musicians have been hard at work in various German, Russian and UK black metal scenes before arriving within the Karlsruhe act and it helps that this is a very professional release that gives just enough ‘edge’ to the performances to avoid saccharine polish. This fidelity comes thanks to both self-recordings and work with Patrick Damiani who has worked on some of my personal favorite records from Falkenbach (also Carach Arngren) as well as a mix from the fellow responsible for Schammasch‘s most recent EP. I appreciate that Damiani‘s treatment of the drums is very present and just cracking in the mix to the point where the performance feels propulsive alongside the fine guitar work from project mastermind Atlas.
The first two tracks, “The Black Age” and “Argil”, both dip into that ‘Damned in Black’ style of riff here and there and this piques my interest just as much as it did on Imperialist‘s debut album last year. That alone is enough to get a recommendation from me but, I suppose it is important to suggest that each of these four tracks do plod along in similar fashion. If a full-length is in the works there would need to be some variation in pace, length or spectacle to keep things oiled beyond a half hour or so. Highly recommended. For preview I would say try “The Black Age” for a grand first impression and then “Divine” for a glimpse at the semi-melodic side of their oeuvre.
A scar upon the aethyr. 3.75/5.0
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