Vrolok - _Void: the Divine Abortion_
(Drakkar Productions, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (9 out of 10)
Drakkar Productions are one of the few labels I have a high regard for, as they frequently release albums of high quality. But when this CD landed in my post-box, I had my reservations. You see, Vrolok are a black metal band based in America, and in my unashamedly opinionated view, American black metal is generally inferior to their musical kin across the pond. Of course there are exceptions -- Xasthur, Grand Belial's Key and Krieg readily spring to mind, and even the rather derivative Judas Iscariot released quite a few above average albums. There are others, but the ratio of high calibre black metal bands remains dismally low. My trepidation was eased when I noted that mainman Sheikh Abd'ajjal, aka Diabolus, had assisted label head Noctu in Mortifera, one of the premier French black metal bands. If his work is good enough for the Celestia founder, surely they must have some merit?

All remaining reservations evaporated completely two minutes into the first proper song, a suicidal slice of post-Gallic desperation. Apparently Vrolok started out as yet another raw black metal band, but have since morphed into a more complex and despairing beast.

To imbue their music with such a sense of anger and despair is not easy, despite irksome comments by assorted ignoramuses. The sound is raw with loads of reverb (but not ridiculously so), meandering between slowed down despair and blasts of feral fury. There is a strong religious aspect, as implied by the stained glass cover, but only to subvert the very concept of religion.

Apparently this was recorded in 2005, so I am unclear why this is only being released now. There is certainly nothing to be embarrassed about here. It is probably not an exaggeration to say that they are the most noteworthy USBM band since the demise of Grand Belial's Key.

Contact: http://www.drakkar666.com

(article published 15/8/2007)

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