VIMUR – Transcendental Violence (2022)REVIEW

Projected in cosmos-wide angle and through appropriately theatric striking of classicist black metal pulse this latest depiction of warring celestial bodies from Atlanta, Georgia-based quartet Vimur presents worthy study and elaboration upon the most eccentric heavy metal driven feats of the late second wave. ‘Transcendental Violence‘ is yet inescapably bound to a yearslong, easy-stepping development of their own melodic black metal voice, a feat by way of folks whom remain intently focused on their own tunneling forth, mystified to such a degree that the brutality of experience threatens to wilt its own blazon display with too-driven a pace. It is a record first defined by energetic thrust and second by its impatient yet satisfyingly consonant and ornate melodic statements, leaving an immediately hyper-thrilling spike in mind which sustains primarily for the sake of their increasingly capable riffcraft.

Formed by guitarist/vocalist Vaedis (Striges, Hellgoat) somewhere nearby 2006 Vimur wouldn’t hit their demo stage as a quartet ’til somewhere between 2010-2014 with ‘Demonstration MMXIV‘ noted as a handful of well-developed melodic black metal pieces in prelude to their debut full-length (‘Traversing the Eternal Current‘, 2014). At some point on said timeline their line-up had expanded to include members of Hellgoat as well as death metal projects Sadistic Ritual and Haunting. Descriptions of their style have yet eluded any earnest analysis in the hands of the greater passif North American metal journalism cadre, an undaunted and violently percussive feature of slickly melodious, somewhat groove-stricken black metal which is in the grand tradition of USBM inspired by Scandinavian black metal’s most potent bombast, that which is also decidedly -not- linkable with indie rock guitar techniques or various nowadays trend-bound permutation.

Having arisen in the prime late 2000’s age of groups like Inquisition and Absu yet clearly hailing the Swedish melodic black metal zeitgeist of the early-to-mid 90’s (Dissection, Sacramentum, Dawn, et. al.) to some strong degree, Vimur‘s sense of ‘attack first, shape later‘ presentation had evolved somewhat over the years (2014-2017), landing in comparable spirit to a certain era of ‘heavy metal’ awakening for late 90’s Immortal despite most of their material being compared to the likes of Uada and post-‘With Hearts Toward None‘ fare in the interim. When their thrashing ‘Exegesis‘ EP released in 2016 the fully formed and idealized vision of Vimur hadn’t come to light just yet but bare production values did reveal the sort of ‘At the Heart of Winter‘-edged riffcraft that’d soon become more pronounced on their second album (‘Triumphant Master of Fates‘, 2019) wherein pieces like “Nuclear Desecration” cleared the air a bit. What does this mean for the unindoctrinated? They’re fast, ‘epic’ in scope, melodic by default and provide more than a few curveballs to the attuned ear as they crush away at a riff-after-riff aligned experience.

Though it counts for little in the way of analysis, it is worth noting that ‘Transcendental Violence‘ is yet a four year old recording, having been tracked about a year before ‘Traversing the Eternal Current‘ was released. Though this type of delay is fairly common in the music industry, and moreso as the pandemia of late took a couple of years off of many creative ventures, it conjures some imagined narrative of hardship as this fine work likely festered in the back of at least once mind for several years. This also allows some distance between the reactive, trendy spectrum of USBM today and refocuses Vimur‘s latest as the product of fandom or, a long-gestating labor of love, which probably should count for something. The intensity of these statements won’t necessarily sink in until you’ve heard what a barn-burning storm it is, and especially if we consider the great bit heavy metal riffs, the ridiculously catch melodies, and brazen speed they’re delivered at. Thankfully the wait is mere seconds away as the heft of opener “Aeonic Upheaval” sets the scene for the ear within its first minute and a half gathering of force as Vimur‘s first major deluge of multi-phrasal riff comes in waves of verse which strike gold ~3:20 minutes into the piece. This is already an outlandishly strong moment for a USBM band, much less a collective of relative outsiders from a kudzu state whom aren’t capitalizing upon a trend and yet the album does well to uphold this energizing thread for most if not all of its duration.

The most ridiculously effective, truly stunning moment on the full listen arrives with plenty of foreshadowing here as the title track (“Transcendental Violence“) is without question the most inspired and impactful performance from Vimur to date by way of a sort of Sargeist-worthy left hand turn that begs for repetition which somehow never comes. For all of the overstated and well-saturated statement of loftiest and punishing guitar threads on this album somehow the hardest hitting only fires off once and, well, this’d been enough to warrant several repeat listens either way. The chaotic sunburst of melodic blackened brutality these folks are known for receives its most clear upgrade on Side A closer “Infallible Contra Animus” and though this is an expansion of their well-established sound by any account it serves as necessary reinforcement for a group who’ve chosen to hone their ideals rather than be moulded by the constant eddying of the black metal headspace. Fans of ‘Triumphant Master of Fates‘ will certainly feel the surge in detail available here on the first half of the record.

Side B further expands upon the flash of rhythm guitar technique at ridiculous speeds (see: “The Greatest Dying”) while focusing on more extended compositional structuring, almost hitting upon a sort of heavy rock influenced mode, which justifies some ‘ready made comparisons to previously mentioned groups. “Death Absolution” is perhaps the most pensive, slowest piece from the band in memory and I’d greatly appreciated its addition to the scope of the record, providing some thoughtful refrain and blustering atmosphere before the final grand tirade of “The Warrior Seers” closes the event another huge ‘epic’ heavy metal sized black metal moment. The full listen is decidedly more dynamic in its reveal than prior releases from the band and though this is largely enacted in the second half of the record, leaving the first half to make the big first impression and Side B to complete the thought and push their sound somewhere new and refined.

Is Vimur‘s most searing bout of radiation yet memorable enough to hold fast in the mind for the rest of the year? Sure, I’d say the guitar work and engaging pace of ‘Transcendental Violence‘ should grip the skulls of folks who’re equally enamored with (real) melodic black metal and its more heavy metal instilled aspect. Give me a solid guitar hook and a quick gang-shouted peak of verse in the middle of a blood-storming melodic black metal record and I’d consider that a rare success worth expanding upon more in the future, here’s hoping the title track and its surroundings represent what’s to come in the future. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (80/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
TITLE:Transcendental Violence
LABEL(S):Boris Records
RELEASE DATE:April 2nd, 2022

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